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Multicultural hot dogs in Toronto

TORONTO—Dinah Koo is keeping it simple with her next culinary venture.

She’s going to sell hot dogs.

Koo, who has been a fixture on the Toronto culinary scene for almost 40 years and is known for her fusion menus, plans to open Fusia Dog this month on Duncan Street in Toronto’s downtown entertainment district, where a Quick Pita formerly stood.

When asked last week why she was going into the hot dog business, she replied half-jokingly that she would be working with 10 to 15 ingredients instead 100 or more.

But she also pointed out that single item restaurants are a developing trend. “Everybody is doing one thing very well,” she said, mentioning that she had recently been to Porchetta, which sells soup, sandwiches and some dishes made with the Italian pork roast that gives the Toronto restaurant its name.

She also spoke about seeing Japadog, the street food operation that serves hot dogs with Asian flavours in downtown Vancouver. “I thought who better to do it in this city than me.”

Her multicultural-dog establishment will serve up creations such as the Boston Dog with baked beans, or a hot dog with kimchi and wasabi mayo among its toppings. She told Restaurant News she is considering Rowe Farms chicken wieners and vegetarian offerings.

She plans to do mainly takeout business with Fusia Dog.

Meanwhile she is continuing to run Koo & Co. catering “for the moment.”

She said she is talking to people about other ideas as well.

Koo ran Dinah’s Cupboard in Toronto for 20 years and Tiger Lilly’s Noodle House for 10 years.

She also partnered with pie specialist Wanda Beaver to run Wanda’s in the Kitchen with Dinah, and for a short while ran Dinah’s Soup Kitchen.

She said she did good business when she tried out the Fusia Dog concept at a night market in the parking lot of T&T Supermarket in Toronto recently. People enjoyed her dogs, she said, because they understood quality.

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