Hot dogs just got elevated to a whole new level, thanks to Joel Bohlin of Hillsborough, who will open a new restaurant this spring called Fetch Hot Dog Co.. It’s an homage to both the classic street carts selling hot dog across America and the farm-to-fork culinary scene cultivated here in the Triangle.
Joel grew up in West Chicago where there was seemingly a hot dog joint on every block, and he soon found himself in the food industry, attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. He also spent time in New York, which only deepened his passion for this classic American dish.
After tasting hot dogs from every street cart and ballpark he visited around the country, he knew that he wanted to bring the haute couture of his CIA training to the classic frank. His career landed him in Durham, where he worked in Tom Ferguson’s kitchen at Durham Catering Co. “If I had not had the opportunity to work at Durham Catering Co., I fear that I would have spent valuable years of my life in less challenging and unfulfilling ‘jobs.’ I would have been left lacking in the experience necessary in taking the steps to starting my own business,” he says.
And after spending time as the general manager at the Hillsborough BBQ Company, Joel knew it was time to strike out on his own. And of course, a hot dog restaurant in Hillsborough was the obvious choice.
“One of the beautiful aspects of Hillsborough is that it is a great walking community. The people are friendly and social,” he says. “The vibe of The Casing will be a version of that, with a hot dog topped with fresh, seasonal produce from the Eno River Farmers’ Market!”
And he’s turning those fresh ingredients into masterpieces on a bun. “My current favorite is dog topped with brown mustard wilted cabbage and onion, crème fraîche, chile-pepper sauce and roasted jalapeños,” he says. He calls it the Katy Perry – because sometimes it’s hot and sometimes it’s cold.
Another creation of his is an innovative mix of Korean and North Carolina flavors. “This dog is based with a collard green kimchi that packs a good punch. I'm working on balancing a handmade mayonnaise with the rendered pork fat that comes off of the barbeque at Hillsborough BBQ Company. It will be called The North Karolean,” he says.
These gourmet dogs come from Weeping Radish Butchery in Grandy, and Joel says they’re the real stars. “The farmers are the real gourmets. It's my job, as a cook, to take the produce that they plant and harvest, the pigs they raised and the cows that they let roam to a final and palate-pleasing necessity to life. . . . So yes, The Casing's hot dogs are gourmet, but it's not because of us. We are just putting the pieces together!”
Taste these franks for yourself at Taste the Event’s Family Cookout at Maple View Farm. There will be hayrides, face painting, locally brewed beer, and of course, Maple View ice cream! Tickets are available for the event, but they’re going fast! Buy tickets at tastetheevent.com.