restaurant news // eric williams

Eric Williams, chef/owner at Momocho, is a fairly happy guy. And why wouldn’t he be? He’s got the most amazing modern Mexican restaurant in town (and my personal favorite of anywhere) and  is about to really experience just what it means to be busy once Guy’s show, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, airs exposing Momocho to new customers. Oh yeah, and as of last night he signed the papers to finalize the purchase of Happy Dog on West 58 and Detroit, making him the newest tenant in Gordan Square District. And he couldn’t be more excited to be.

According to Williams, he had the opportunity to partner up with his friends, Rini McNulty and Sean Kilbane. The initial plans calls for a clean-up and, as he calls it, small rearrangement of the space all while keeping that old bar/diner/hall feel.

The menu will have just two items: an all-beef Chicago style hot dog and fresh cut fries. But here’s the cool part – you can choose from 50 homemade toppings for your dog. Sure, there will be ketchup, mustard and pickled vegetables. But how about blue cheese cole slaw, chorizo chili, kim chee, cola and soy braised bok choy or vodka sauerkraut?  The focus will be on creating a cool corner bar that continues to have live music from both local and national musicians.  

There are possible plans for a new name, Williams adds, one that not only captures the venue but also celebrates the history of the neighborhood. The opening is set for October 17.


  1. Posted October 2, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    If you talk to the chef, beg him to keep the tater tots at the Happy Dog!

    Concept reminds of something I stumbled upon over the summer on Brookpark Road: It’s relocating now but once open again it’s a must visit.

    (Oh, and what could be a more appropriate name for a frankfurter joint than the Happy Dog?)

  2. Posted October 2, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I only went to Happy Dog once but I still think I can say that Chef Williams has some big shoes to fill. If I had discovered them sooner, I’m sure I’d have gone many more times. Sure, making a Polish boy might seem easy. But since there are so many places to get one, you can’t hide mediocre execution behind an interesting flavor combination. You have to get all of the details right. Happy Dog’s Polish boy did that.

  3. Etq
    Posted October 2, 2009 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    What about Watterson?!!!

  4. Leslie
    Posted October 3, 2009 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Oh my God! I don’t know whether to be really excited or really scared. I love Momocho, but I used to work at the Happy Dog, and it remains one of my favorite places in town. It could defintitely use a bit of cleaning up and polishing, but I hope they don’t change it too much. It’s so great precisely because of its totally unpretentious, not-retro-just-unchanged vibe. Why mess with such a good thing? And I second the comment about the tots! Keep the tots, Eric!

  5. Jonathan
    Posted October 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    No veggie options?

    I mostly want to get the bike rack re-installed outside.

  6. modmex
    Posted October 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    already made a call to the city to install 2 bike racks / also 98% of the toppings are veg so you can come up with some cool combos / eric

  7. Alan
    Posted October 4, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Retain tater tots and trivia please.

    Chicago style hot dogs–if done properly, they are the best kind of hot dogs out there.

    Here’s hoping for a successful update while retaining the old school vibe.

  8. Posted October 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    for the most part i like the concept; make $$ on the margin, due to high volume of a single ingredient(s) potatoes & beef w/ the icing being the 50+ toppings.

    three things:
    1) generally, filling for wieners, even the legendary vienna beef, isn’t exactly high grade stuff. Is it possible to source wieners LOCALLY, from at minimum, non-CAFO facilities?

    2) a veggie weiner is a must; though i’ no veg; but give big props to those that are. the beer engine does a fantastic job of accommodating veg’s w/ it’s burger-based menu

    3) happy dog, wieners, nuff said.

  9. James
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Definitely going to miss the pierogies, but this sounds interesting. Just hope the vibe doesn’t change too much, as I’m sure much of the current clientele will be seriously bummed… myself included.

  10. Matthew
    Posted October 7, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink


    Any word on when Momocho or the other local places will air on the Food Networks’s Triple D?

    I’ve already gotten word that Lucky’s will be on October 12th at 10pm. What about the others?


  11. Posted October 7, 2009 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The current name could not be better suited or pre-destined for a joint that serves only hot dogs!

  12. Posted October 9, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I love Momocho, and I’m sure whatever he puts in there will be fine, but this makes me really really sad. I mean, its the Happy Dog!

  13. modmex
    Posted October 9, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    dont be sad bridge / the happy dog ISNT changing / i partnered up with some old friends + current hd owners / we’re cleaning + painting the place / the only “change” will be the menu / still going to be a cool corner bar + live music / hope to see you soon


  14. Michelle V
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Matthew – I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m still trying to find the dates for the remaining Cle eps, including Momocho. Eric – a little help?

  15. modmex
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    momocho is scheduled to air mon nov 23rd