Help BnD’z Support The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Breast Cancer Awareness BnD'z

I’ve mentioned several times in the past how grateful I am that Pittsburgh has embraced our little burger and hot dog shop, enabling us to grow at a pace I never imagined a little over a year ago.  I’ve always been humbled by the support of our customers, realizing we wouldn’t be here in South Park if it wasn’t for your patronage.
That being said, I’ve always offered special promotions and discounts to our loyal fans, and rest assured, will continue to show my appreciation.  The time has come, however, for me to ask you, the best customers in Pittsburgh, to come together for a cause that is very important to me.

Monday, October 14th, BnD’z is proud to be taking part in raising funds for The Susan G. Koman Foundation.  October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I feel strongly that the generosity and support our customers have show in the past twelve months will once again rise to the occasion.
On Monday, 10% of all sales will be donated to The Susan G. Koman Foundation.  Susan’s battle with breast cancer is an emotional story related here, however her legacy has lived on, providing awareness, treatment and financial resources for others affected by this terrible disease.
75% of proceeds received at BnD’z will be utilized locally here in Pittsburgh to assist with breast cancer education, screening and treatment initiatives.  The balance will be incorporated into national research grants to help find a cure.
So what do you say, Pittsburgh? Let’s make our first fund raising event a success.  Stop in Monday, October 14th all day and enjoy a great burger or dog while showing support and helping those in our area who are suffering from breast cancer.
I know we have the best customers in the ‘Burgh; true, giving and selfless people who have always been the glue of this community.  With your help we can do our part, generating funding to help The Susan G. Koman Foundation help fight the good fight!
Looking forward to seeing you on Monday!
Doug

WE’VE OUTGROWN OUR BLOG HOME!

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The past year has really been absolutely amazing!  Not only did we outgrow our first website, creating a much larger, user friendly version of BnD’z.com, but now we’ve discovered that our blogging home here on wordpress has become a bit …..small.  It’s kind of like a young couple starting out, purchasing a two bedroom home.  Before you know it, the family keeps growing and growing and it’s time to find a bigger place!

We have a new, more robust blog that can be found on our website and would love to have all of our followers join us at our new home!  Simply follow this link to be taken to our new and improved blog site.  You will still find all of the archives from past articles here as well as the opportunity to read new posts.

Again, I really want to thank all of our followers for helping us grow so rapidly into one of Pittsburgh’s favorite burger and hot dog shops.  I sincerely hope you decide to follow us over to the new website so you can continue to grow with us!

Sincerely,

Doug

Excuse Me, You Want What On Your Burger?

Raw Power                                   VS.                                                               Pure Genius

The male species is one strange animal, and I can say that because I’m part of the tribe. Competition seems to be bred into us from birth but reaches extreme levels in our early twenties. Where am I getting this unofficial data? From eye witness experience this past weekend at BnD’z.

As anyone who follows this blog knows, we offer all of our customers the ability to Create Your Own Masterpiece. Whether it’s a hot dog or burger, everyone who comes into the restaurant has the opportunity to not only select what toppings they want, but also what type of meat, bun, how it’s cooked, etc. When college-aged men come in, it always seems to turn into some type of primal ritual to see who is the Alpha Male.  In this instance, it was a classic brain versus brawn scenario.

With local universities back in session, we definitely saw a spike in business, but one particular group of three that came in on Saturday night seemed to have an agenda. Who was going to order the most….let’s say “unique” burger and proceed to eat it regardless of how, uh…mismatched the toppings, bun and type of meat were.

These students, Steve, Joey and Dylan, approached the counter and announced their intentions prior to ordering.

Joey: So just to review, we can each have anything on our burgers we want, right?

Dylan: Or hot dog.

Steve: There is no way you two can order something crazier than me! I studied the menu before we came, I have it all planned out!

Me: Uh, yeah, absolutely, we can put anything on the menu on your burger or hot dog. Just fill out the checklist here and we will get your Masterpieces ready.

Steve and Joey began to playfully trash talk each other as they completed their forms. I offered a pencil and form to Dylan, who seemed quite reserved. Me: Here you go.

Dylan: That’s ok, sir.

Me: Please, call me Doug. You’re not involved in this craziness?

He glanced over at his friends, returned his focus to me and nodded with a sly smile. Something was up, and I have to admit I was curious to see how this was going to play out.

Here is what each of the students ordered:

Joey

An 8oz Shredded Chicken Burger, medium well on a pretzel bun. Toppings included: wasabi horseradish cheese, garlic, neon green relish, jalapeno peppers and a fried egg for good measure.

Joey seemed pretty happy with his order as he turned to Steve and the silent Dylan, flashing a confident smile.

Steve

An 8oz Veggie Burger (“Coach says I have to cut back on red meat!”), medium rare on a gluten-free bun. Toppings included: celery salt, garlic, Lawry’s Season Salt, diced onions, pickles, grilled onions, green peppers, cole slaw, mac ‘n cheese, sauerkraut and plain old mustard.

At this point a crowd gathered around the register, everyone interested in what was transpiring. How was Dylan going to top these orders?

Dylan

Regular hot dog, medium well…..on a white bun…..no toppings.

The groan from the customers, Joey and Steve echoed through the dining room. I smiled at Dylan. I could tell he was smart, and it had nothing to do with the CMU logo on his t-shirt.

The food was prepared and presented to the three friends, who were now surrounded by curious onlookers. Joey and Steve dug in with valor, as Dylan just sat, staring at his plain hot dog.

I have to give them credit. Steve got three rather large bites of his Frankenstein creation down when he announced he couldn’t go on. “I love everything on it, man, but not together! I’m out!”

Joey, eyes watering, most likely from the combination of wasabi horseradish and jalapeno peppers, forced himself to take a fourth bite. With his mouth full he proclaimed “I win! You culdnt enan et halv….”

As his unintelligible victory speech proceeded, Dylan nonchalantly grabbed a fork and scraped all of the toppings from both of his friends burgers, proceeding to clump the mess onto his hot dog. A murmur began among the spectators. Steve reached up and placed his hand over Joey’s still moving mouth, pointing with his other hand at their quiet friend.

Dylan began to eat this now mess of a hot dog….in three bites. The crowd cheered as Joey sat down, defeated. Steve stood and bowed to his friend, the newly-crowned Alpha Male in this bizarre competition.

Dylan smiled to the crowd, then locked eyes with me. “Doug, I could really use a drink of water.”

Defending Your Title

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Hello, Friends!

I just wanted to mention again how humbled we are here at BnD’z. For anyone who missed the last blog, let me bring you up to speed: You voted our hot dogs not only one of the Top 40 Fantastic Franks in the nation, but also the best in Pittsburgh. Again, I can’t say it enough, on behalf of myself, my managers and my staff, Thank You!

Talking with one of my managers over the weekend, Scott asked me a question I had been to ecstatic to contemplate: “So what’s next, boss?” I knew what he meant by this rather simple inquiry. BnD’z hasn’t even been open for a year and we’ve achieved so much. We have the most loyal fan base of any restaurant in the area. We’ve achieved national recognition. We’ve been embraced by the community. Where do we go from here?

I put my spatula down and looked Scott dead in the eye. “What’s next? We defend our title.” I must admit, I felt like one of those coaches from any number of Disney movies, you know, like in “Miracle” or “Remember The Titans”. The older veteran, saddled with instilling pride and teamwork in his crew of talented underdogs, taking them all the way to the championship game.

That’s what we were less than a year ago, underdogs. All we had was an idea, a storefront and the desire to put out the best product possible. With hard work, perseverance and a fire in our hearts, we crafted a team of employees that shared our vision. Using another movie analogy, “If you build it, they will come”, we knew that once we opened the doors to BnD’z we had a huge responsibility to our customers to serve the best food at the most competitive prices for our customers….and yes, they showed up….consistently. Again, I can’t say it enough, thank you for that.

Speaking on behalf of the entire team, we will not rest on our laurels. We will continue to “defend our title” against all competition, committed even more than before to providing our guests the best Burgerz & Dogz in the ‘Burgh. It’s flattering to be honored by Urban Spoon, no doubt, but the real award is the acknowledgment of our customers. We won’t let you down!

NAMED PITTSBURGH’S MOST POPULAR HOT DOG SPOT, THANKS TO YOU!

All I can say is “Wow”! BnD’z hasn’t even been open for business for a year and we’ve been recognized by Urban Spoon as Pittsburgh’s most popular hot dog location. Can you even begin to imagine how proud I was when I was told about this honor late last week? I was actually speechless, it was really an awesome moment!

But, truth be told, this title wasn’t just bestowed upon BnD’z because the powers that be at UrbanSpoon.com thought we were a nice family restaurant. I was informed the criteria involved a whole laundry list of items: locations that received the most positive reviews, votes, website page views and media coverage, all from the last year. This tells me one thing, something I’ve been saying since we opened our doors to our first location in South Park……We Have The Best Customers In The City!

It’s a fact that we are truly blessed here at BnD’z. It’s all right there in the Urban Spoon article. Positive reviews? Those come from you, our loyal customers! Votes? I am so humbled that you have actually voted our little Burgerz & Dogz shop the best, it’s just amazing! Website page views? It looks like you actually enjoy checking out the site, possibly even reading my blogs, which is really flattering! Media coverage? Again, wow! You’ve really made BnD’z more successful more quickly than anyone ever could have imagined!

On behalf of my loyal managers Scott Abbey and Chris Miller, my talented staff who consistently impress me on a daily basis with their hard work, as well as myself, we want to say “Thank You!” We know we couldn’t win accolades like this without your continued support, and we’re committed to continue offering you the best selection of fresh burgers, hot dogs and vegetarian options in the ‘Burgh. Your positive feedback and stamp of approval means more than you could possibly imagine. Our promise to you, our loyal friends, is that we will continue to put you first!

Sincerely,

Doug Baros

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Your Customers Take Care Of You, You Need To Take Care Of Them

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I was really tired at the end of last week. Things have been hopping at BnD’z all summer and last week was no exception. I found myself running some clerical errands in the South Hills between the lunch and dinner rush and realized I was running on adrenaline, and the tank was getting very low. I pulled in to a well known, relatively local, convenience store to get gas in the car and to get myself some caffeine fuel.

Greeted by the cashier’s smiling face, I told her I only needed the coffee and some gasoline. She responded with “Do you have your loyalty card?” Maybe it was my energy depleted state, but it took me a few seconds to respond. “Uh….no, I don’t have one”. For some reason I felt a little ashamed about this.

“Would you like one?”

Loaded question there! I must have signed up for every rewards program known to man at some point. They’re always falling out of my wallet (never hung from my key chain), have taken up residence in my glove box, or found in the bottom of my washing machine having escaped from a forgotten back pocket. Did I really need another card? Before I could answer my own question, the pleasant clerk proceed to quickly, but politely, explain that not only was every tenth coffee free, I would receive  on future gas purchases as well as be eligible for cardholder-only weekly deals throughout the store.

Why, you ask, did I happily agree for another card? Simple. I frequent this particular chain of stores almost on a weekly basis. I really enjoy their coffee. I need gas in my car at least once a week, and they’ve always had better prices than their competitors. The staff is awesome, and the shop is always immaculate. Basically, I really  the place! That, and the fact that the cashier was able to explain the benefits of being a loyal customer in a speedy, sincere manner. It wasn’t a major life decision, and equated to a real value for me, the customer.

Pumping my gas, sipping my coffee, I thought about the reward card we offer at BandD’z. We implemented the program shortly after opening our first location, offering a free 8oz Beef or Veggie Burger with the purchase of ten. To say it’s been successful is a huge understatement. In fact, I’ve noticed that monthly we have consistently redeemed more and more of these cards. The number keeps growing. What does that really mean? Obviously, we must be doing something right, but more importantly it proves that we are blessed with an extremely loyal client base. Without your patronage, we couldn’t serve the best burgerz and dogz in the ‘Burgh, and for that I want to say “Thank You!”

If you haven’t received your BandD’z Loyalty Card, just stop in and ask! If you haven’t tried any of our delicious, fresh offerings yet, swing by and see what everyone’s talking about. We’re conveniently located in South Park and would love to meet some new friends!

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History Of The Hot Dog

In a past blog, I detailed the mysterious origin of the hamburger, which seems to be constant topic of debate. This go round, let’s open up a whole new Pandora’s box and see if we can shed some light on the origin of the hot dog!

Well, some historians seem to think this delicious meat treat was created in Frankfurt, Germany sometime in the 15th Century, but that is a misconception. Some reports go back to 64 AD when a Roman chef, cooking for Emperor Caesar, decided to stuff ground meat into pig intestines, which apparently went over amazingly well. I don’t know, sounds kind of nasty to me!
Did Caesar Eat The First Hot Dog?

In any case, there is no argument that hot dogs are a close relative of the sausage, which did originate in Germany. In 1805 a popular sausage made up of pork and beef was all the rage in Vienna. In German, this meat mixture was known as Wien, which, you guessed it, evolved into “wiener”.

Ok, so we have these Wien’s, wieners if you rather, that seemed to be a carnivore’s dream taking over Europe. So where does the hot dog come into play? This is where it gets really interesting! Apparently there was a sausage peddler in St. Louis, sometime around 1883. These sausages were extremely messy to eat not to mention very hot. Necessity is the mother of invention so they say, and this vendor, Mr. Antonoine Feuchtwanger, decided to offer his customers white gloves to protect their hands from both the heat and the mess. The problem was these gloves often would just disappear into the crowd either getting thrown away or being kept as a souvenir. These hand protectors weren’t cheap, and caused Mr. Feuchtrwanger to lose a great deal of profit from his efforts. Luckily for him, he had a very creative spouse! Mrs. Feuchtrwanger began placing the sausages into long rolls, solving both the untidy nature of the meal as well as protecting consumers from burns. She dubbed this new sandwich “red hots”.

We’re getting there, as the word “hots” has now entered the language thanks to Mrs. Feuchtrwanger, but how did these meats in a bun become known as hot dogs?  If we flash forward about ten years to 1893, a New York concessionaire, Harry Stevens,was selling these German sausages in rolls at the Polo Grounds.  He called these sandwiches “Dachshunds”.  Legend has it that a New York Post illustrator couldn’t spell the German word Dachshund, so he simply called these treats hot dogs!

Whether you like to call these staples of Baseball and America wieners, frankfurters, sausages or hot dogs, it’s safe to say, wherever they came from, we’ve embraced them as our own.  Here at BandD’z we offer a wide variety of hot dogs served any way you like.  We have the Chicago Dog, The Mac ‘n Cheese Dog, even a Stuffed Cheese and Bacon Dog!  In fact, you can Create Your Own Hot Dog Masterpiece with your choice of bun and a huge array of toppings.  There’s pretty much any combination imaginable here at BandD’z…..oh, except one……we’re all out of pig intestines.

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Little League Life Lessons

Honestly, this is my favorite time of the year. Why? Is it because summer is right around the corner? Sort of. Is it because I’m looking forward to all of our guests deciding it’s too hot to cook and they will come in to enjoy the best burgers and hot dogs Pittsburgh has to offer? Well, absolutely! But there’s yet another reason that always gets me pumped up in April leading into May. BASEBALL IS BACK!

Wait, I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, Doug, The Pirates always get our hopes up only to let us down after the All-Star Break.” Sadly, that’s true, but the tide has to turn sometime, right? But when I mention baseball, I’m not talking about our Bucs, I’m talking about Little League.

Is there any other activity that is as pure and uplifting as watching these little guys and girls playing in their first organized sport? I remember when I was their age, shagging fly balls with my glove that was three sizes to big for my six year old hand. Stepping into the box with your parents, siblings and friends watching to see if you could even swing that oh so heavy aluminum bat. I’m from the generation that had live balls being pitched, we didn’t have the cushion of hitting off a tee!

For a good majority of kids, this is their first experience at playing on a team, learning valuable lessons to build on as they grow into adults, realizing that others will be relying on them to achieve desired results. Not to mention playing by the rules, being a good sport to your opponents and most importantly how to have fun!

Now I’m quite aware that not all kids play baseball, some prefer soccer, basketball, gymnastics, dancing, cheer leading, and the list goes on and on. Some children have no interest in sports period, which is great, too. Everyone is different, discovering as the years peel away where their interests rest. But for me, it always brings a smile to my face when I see that young player stepping up to the plate for the first time, wide eyed, nervous, barely able to hold the bat properly. All too often, they will hack at the little white globe resting on the tee, or take swings at lobbed pitches, not even close to connecting.

It may be the next game, or even the next season, but the day will come when they make contact with that elusive red stitched ball. They may even just get a piece of it with a foul tip to the back stop, but that instantly identifiable clink of hide on metal always produces a genuine smile. That grin results from success, something we can all relate to. You can’t get a hit if you don’t step into the batters box. That’s why baseball is enlightening, simple and pure. There’s so much these little players will learn from the sport without even realizing it. In that regard, Baseball is a lot like life, don’t you think?

Every day when I open the doors of BnD’z for our guests, I think about how fortunate I am to do something that I sincerely love. If I wouldn’t have entered the batter’s box years ago, working and struggling to get hits, learning from my experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to hit this home run.

A sincere thank you goes out to all our guests, and for any of you local ballplayers that stop by in uniform, tell mom and dad we will give the entire family a special discount off their total bill, no matter if you went 4 for 4 or struck out each time. It’s just our way to show our appreciation and to remind you not to give up. Just like life, keep trying….you’ll get there!

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IS IT REALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY?

Breakfast, when you “break” your “fast”. When I was in elementary school and my teacher explained the origin of the word I was amazed at the pure simplicity of it. Why couldn’t every word be so explanatory? It would have made classes more interesting…..and easier!

I also remember him touting the benefits of a daily breakfast: “This meal provides the fuel your body needs to get ready for the busy day ahead. Without it, you won’t accomplish as much.”

Back then, I took that comment with a grain of salt. I had plenty of energy! Now, thirty years on, I see Mr. Wayland in a whole new light. Just like everyone, I’ve woken up late before, (just once or twice….yeah, right) and I’ve had to skip my morning meal out of necessity. Not a good idea.

Right around mid morning my stomach would grumble, it would be harder to focus on the task at hand, and I would be counting the minutes until the lunch whistle would blow. Well, I’ve never worked anywhere that utilized an actual “lunch whistle”, but you get the idea.

Like the majority of the working class out there, I would rather get an extra fifteen minutes of sleep in the morning than spend time cooking a nice hearty breakfast. Luckily, there is a solution that will enable you to get those oh so precious additional moments of slumber while still being able to eat a hot breakfast. BandD’z is now open at 6:00 am offering perfect get me going meals!

Up until 10:00am Monday through Friday, we will be serving a wide variety of hot and fresh breakfast items: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast as well as our customized breakfast sandwiches.

For those of us who can function without something in our bellies until lunch, we also have that magic potion that makes it all possible…….fresh coffee

So feel free to hit that snooze bar, maybe even twice, with confidence. We’ll be here waiting for you with the tastiest foods to fuel you for the day. You can even place an order for lunch and take it to work with you! All bosses love to see their employees eating at their desks while working through their lunch hours, which may come in handy down the road if you hit that snooze bar too many times and arrive at work a few minutes late. I wish Mr. Wayland would have taught me that trick back in third grade!

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The Importance Of Taking The Family Out To Eat

“We’re going out to eat tonight”, one of the most pleasant phrases someone can hear at the end of the workday. Whether you’re a busy spouse with hungry children and an overworked partner to feed, or just someone who is frustrated with always trying to come up with a unique meal idea that everyone will like. Then there is all that effort. Gathering the ingredients required for the meal, preparing everything in a hot kitchen, presenting your creation to an unenthusiastic family, then, the cherry on the sundae…….you have to clean the pots, pans and dishes!

Meals have always been an American tradition, a time when the family can all sit down in one place at one time, enjoy food and conversation. The sad part is, this tradition is slowly dying. Often both spouses work, sometimes vastly different schedules. Little Billy has to skip dinner due to hockey practice or Sister Katie needs to be at the Brownie meeting no later than 6:00pm. It’s a fact of our busy lifestyle, dinner time with family is definitely on the Endangered Species List!

This is really a shame. Everyone is so caught up in email, personal computers, Ipod’s, and Twitter, but it seems we’ve all lost the fine art of real conversation and an enjoyable meal. Don’t get me wrong! I love my Ipod, my Facebook, and I don’t think I would be able to live without checking my email, but I’ve still found a way to preserve dinner and conversation with my family.

How? At least once a week, regardless of everything else going on in the hectic world around us, we go out to eat. It’s a requirement, a Family Date. Sometimes we choose a fine dining establishment, other times a pizza parlor, even our own BnDz Restaurant. The location really isn’t the main point. The time we set aside is. Everyone in the family looks forward to our weekly “date”. This doesn’t mean that we never eat at our dining room table. In fact, 9 times out of 10 we are all present at dinner. The results from going out are just…..better. Most likely it’s because all the pressure is off the chef: will everyone like what I just cooked? What a mess we have to clean up! And no Billy, you can’t be excused!

I suggest you give it a try. One night out of the week. Take your family out for a meal. You don’t have to break the bank to do this, but even if you did, and they all ordered the Surf & Turf at Chateau Wherever, you’ll look back on these precious family dates and perhaps come to the same realization that I did. Meals and Family are important.

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