When is a hot dog more than just a hot dog? When it’s a Dixie Dog. After a career as a teacher, coach, and a professional referee for the National Basketball Association, Kevin Fehr hung up his whistle and put on an apron. Having grown up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kevin always loved that city’s special take on chili—especially “Coney Style” on a hot dog, as he calls it. As a way to share his love of these dogs, and to spend more time with his grandchildren, he started Dixie Dogs.
Tell us about Dixie Dogs.
I started this business back in 2015 because I really wanted to introduce Cincinnati-style chili to folks here. And I also saw it as a way to be around people and to have my grandkids do something with me in retirement.
What makes Cincinnati-style chili so special?
It is similar to traditional chili but with added ingredients of cinnamon or even dark chocolate. It is a really special flavor (profile)—once people try it, they really like it.
What is your signature item?
We thought our signature item would be one of those Coney Dogs loaded up with the chili and cheese and all the toppings. But we found our niche is really just creating an experience of sharing hot dogs in a fun environment. People always seem to be happy around Dixie Dogs. We also sell a lot of hamburgers.
We hear you had a rather unconventional Dixie Dog private party not long ago?
Yeah, that was kinda funny. We did a whole set up for a dog’s birthday party. There are so many jokes there, like “a dog-eat-dog kind of world” and so on, but it was really fun. Everyone had a great time, especially the birthday boy.
Find your niche and enjoy what you are doing. But watch your balance sheet—always be aware of your margins. It is easy to get wrapped up in something being fun to do but, at the end of the day, it is still a business.
The grandkids just like being around and helping out. And they really like earning extra money. Most of the time, the crew is Patrick, Hannah, Nathan, and Jimmy. They get to split all the tips they earn, which can be a nice sum!
Find Dixie Dogs:
Look at my Instagram page, give me a call, or email me. I enjoy doing neighborhood events like the Farmers Market at Ross Bridge. Private parties are always a hit too.