FROSTBURG — The Frostburg business district has welcomed two new family owned and operated businesses — The Dawg House Bar and Grill and the OffBeat Bistro, both along Main Street. While these two enterprises may be very different in nature, they share a belief that the Mountain City is thriving and they want to be part of the action.
Brandon Wilhelm, an area native, returned to Frostburg after enjoying culinary success in Texas. A self-trained chef, he was named one of the top 100 chefs in Houston and prepared food at some of the top restaurants in the city. However, he felt drawn back to the mountains and returned home last year, deciding it was time to open his own restaurant.
When he learned Duncan’s Bar was available to lease, he thought it would be the perfect location for his dream to become a reality. In June, with the support of his parents and fiance’, Stephanie Alexander, Wilhelm opened The Dawg House.
The menu at the Dawg House is diverse, but the signature item, of course, is gourmet hot dogs. And the theme is evident throughout, including meals served in dog dishes.
“We serve gourmet hot dogs with a lot of different toppings and sauces. All sauces are made in-house, using fresh ingredients. My trademark is the grilled bun and we also make vegetarian dogs,” he said. “I wanted to bring a little bit of Texas back here with me.”
Wilhelm said he relies heavily on local farmers and farmers markets for his produce and believes it is important to “buy, support and feed the locals.” The menu at The Dawg House will change to reflect what items are in season.
His unique style and perspective are reflected in both his menu and location. He and Alexander are urging area dog owners to bring photos of their pets and will he said he will “display them proudly” on the walls.
“We want everyone to feel welcome here,” Alexander added.
He said the historic and “old school” look of Duncan’s complements the atmosphere he wanted to create for his customers. In addition to a varied and changing menu, The Dawg House offers live entertainment and specials throughout the week.
A grand opening celebration for The Dawg House was held Saturday.
On Independence Day, the OffBeat Bistro opened its doors for diners.
The restaurant is a true family enterprise, owned by Lowell and Tracey Broadwater. Their daughter, Sonya Channel, is the general manager and her husband, Ryan, is the executive chef. Her siblings, Brandi and Seth also play key roles in the operations.
“Everyone has a voice and an important part to play in all of this,” Tracey Broadwater said. “Each family member contributes something special and we have our personal favorites on the menu.”
The menu reflects the vast experience Ryan has in the culinary arts. Ryan is a Pittsburgh Culinary Institute-trained chef. The menu includes everything from steaks to seafood, homemade soups, a full kids’ menu and daily specials.
“It will be good eating, with some unusual items such as buffalo chicken lasagna and po-boys,” Sonya explained.
Sonya will also be serving as the pastry chef, and plans to create delicious and homemade desserts.
“We are going to have something new on the menu every day, you never know, one day it could be New York cheesecake or homemade peanut butter banana pie,” she said. The restaurant will also offer hand-dipped ice cream.
Sonya said when her family began considering opening a restaurant they were encouraged by the evidence of growth in Frostburg and felt the location would provide them with the atmosphere they sought to offer.
“We wanted to bring variety to Frostburg and provide a great family eatery with a friendly and comfortable atmosphere. We are confident in the direction Frostburg is headed and we felt good about opening a restaurant that would be welcoming for everyone,” she said.
Both of the new restaurant owners are aware of the many challenges that exist when opening a new restaurant, but are confident that with their own personal determination and quality offerings they will enjoy success.
“I really feel good about the direction in which Frostburg is headed and we are proud to be a part of it,” Sonya said.
Contact Angie Brant at firstname.lastname@example.org.