FAIRFIELD — Patrick Evangelista has been a firefighter for the Air Force and worked in hospitals, but he always had another dream.
“I always wanted my own restaurant,” Evangelista said. “I tell people my power tools aren’t in the garage, they’re in the kitchen.”
In October 2012, his dream came true. He and his wife Sandra opened their first restaurant, Dawgs Michigan Coney Island Hotdogs, at 628 Parker Road.
It’s a golden age in Fairfield for fans of mom-and-pop hot dogs shops. Hot Diggity Dog opened in the city last spring near Cordelia, run by the family that used to run Pluto Hot Dogs in Vallejo. About the same time, Vinnie Vedella opened Famous Vinnie’s Hot Dogs in central Fairfield near Allan Witt Park.
Now comes Dawgs on the east side of the city, near Travis Air Force Base.
The mainstay at Dawgs is a hot dog with mustard, onions, cheddar cheese and coney, which is a bean-less, tomato-less chili. But the Evangelistas have come up with other ideas as well.
For example, there’s the Nutty Bacon Dawg. It’s a hot dog with peanut butter, bacon and crushed banana chips.
“That’s my creation,” Patrick Evangelista said. “It came to me in a dream.”
Sandra Evangelista cooks macaroni with a five-cheese blend. Other dishes include baked beans, green beans, sweet potato fries and frings, which are comprised of french fries, onions and coney.
Dawgs is located in a shopping center at the entrance to Travis Air Force Base. The stream of people going to and from the base on adjacent Air Base Parkway each weekday makes up a big part of the restaurant’s patrons.
“We knew we were going to be focused on the military, because I’m prior Air Force,” Patrick Evangelista said.
Many people at the base come from the South and Midwest. They are familiar with the “homestyle” cooking offered at Dawgs, Patrick Evangelista said. Coney originated in Michigan, he said.
The Evangelistas originally intended to open a restaurant in Hawaii, where they lived briefly a few years ago. But they ended up moving back to the Bay Area and settled in Fairfield partly because of its home prices.
They started a catering business and during the 2012 Oktoberfest in Vacaville sold 200 of a special bratwurst hot dog, Patrick Evangelista said. That same month, they opened Dawgs.
Patrick Evangelista wants to open more Dawgs, with a Vacaville restaurant a possibility later this year. He can see his 22-year-old son Zack, who works at the restaurant, someday taking over the family business.
Dawgs is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. It can be reached at 437-1309.
What are you buzzing about? Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com.