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Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs new restaurant adding 'half-smoke' to Buffalo

Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs is opening its new restaurant next month, introducing the Washington, D.C. specialty "half-smoke" sausage along with its standard lineup.

"We're pretty much in the home stretch," said Paul Tripi, who owns the outfit, one of Buffalo's most popular food trucks, with his twin brother Frank. "I don’t have an exact start date, but it looks like early June when we'll be fired up and ready to go."

To concentrate the Tripis' efforts on their new store, the Frank counter at EXPO, 617 Main St., will close after business May 25.

The brothers have turned a former automobile repair shop at 707 Kenmore Ave. into their first restaurant. It'll be a counter service operation with about 45 seats.

The BLT dog from Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Its menu will mirror the trucks' array of specialty hot dogs, and house-cut fries with dips. Burgers, made from grass-fed beef, will be one additional feature, Tripi said.

Another will be the local debut of a Washington, D.C. tube-meat specialty called the "half-smoke," a larger, spicier, coarser style of hot dog with a smoky flavor. "We've been working with a D.C. butcher shop over the last year and a half, so we'll be introducing that, which we're very excited about."

Beer and wine, including locally made brands, will be available in bottles and cans.

Fries and dips rival hot dogs as attractions at Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

The building a patio out front, and a patio out back is planned for the near future. A full bar is a possibility for the back patio, but that's not certain yet, Tripi said.

Tripi said neighbors and passers-by have been excited about the restaurant's impending opening. Customers built a 4,000-piece Lego replica of the company's logo and presented it to the brothers. It will be framed and hung on a wall.

"We went out on a limb and chose Kenmore Avenue," Tripi said. "That corner is our backyard. To change the building from a 1950s mechanic's garage to something current and fun, the neighborhood is excited and I think we'll get a nice warm welcome."

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