HAPPY DOG is a restaurant and live entertainment venue that has been owned and operated by Sean Kilbane and Sean Watterson since 2008. The business has gained fame for serving hot dogs that can be paired with a wide variety of toppings and sauces.
The building at 5801 Detroit Avenue was home to a family owned Eastern European restaurant called Mom Socotch’s from when it was built in the 1940s until 2008. That year, Happy Dog’s owners bought the building with the goal of turning the space into a music venue while preserving its history as a restaurant. Happy Dog still (as of 2021) uses the original bar, booths and barstools and the owners refurbish them as needed. The walls display concert posters and photographs of performers.
In 2009 the ownership sought the help of chef Eric Williams to craft a menu where hot dogs would be the main focus. In addition to beef hot dogs, Happy Dog serves five other meat options and offers a selection of over 40 toppings. Tater tots and fries are the two side options and the bar serves a wide variety of beer on tap.
In its early days, Happy Dog served as a venue for local and touring bands but later opened its doors to other forms of entertainment and education. It has become a venue for classical music, comedy and guest lectures on academic topics.
In 2014, the owners of Happy Dog opened a second location at historic Euclid Tavern at 11625 Euclid Avenue. However, just four years later, this location closed which marked the end of Euclid Tavern’s run as a restaurant, bar and music venue.
In March 2020 Happy Dog closed its doors on Detroit Avenue for over 15 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to its status as a music venue, it received benefits from the arts funding bill passed by US Congress in 2020 and was able to reopen the following year. On June 25th, 2021 Happy Dog officially resumed serving food and hosting live shows.