Bethany Clough

Eating Out: Hot dogs and teddy bears at new eatery

Nowhere else would a giant teddy bear eating a hot dog tacked to a wall make sense.

But it does at the newly opened Brown Bear's Hotdogs, a little stand at Herndon Avenue and Fresno Street, just north of Chili's restaurant.

Formerly Cali's Frozen Custard, the hot dog stand has both a walk-up and a drive-thru window.

It's all about the hot dogs, here, with the menu featuring chili dogs, taco dogs and a pizza dog. Some are quite creative, such as the buffalo dog topped with deep-fried croutons in a buffalo chicken sauce, celery, green onion and ranch dressing.

Thankfully, they give out lots of napkins and a fork for the messy hot dogs.

The restaurant serves Nathan's beef hot dogs, including the "protein dog" that comes without a bun, or vegetarian dogs. For $5 you get the dog, a can of soda and a bag of chips. You can order toppings individually for no extra charge.

So what does a bear have to do with hot dogs?

Brown bear is a nickname the wife behind this business has for her husband.

"He looks like a bear. He moves like a bear," said Jennifer Raya of her husband Benjerman Raya, who also has a bear tied to the grill of his pickup truck.

He used to be Benny years ago, but as a teen who was a bit vertically challenged -- he's not anymore, for the record -- he got tired of being called "hey kid" and changed his name to BenjerMAN.

If you go to the restaurant, you'll see him or his wife there. They're the only workers at the stand, which is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, til 10 p.m. on Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

There's a breakfast hot dog that includes an omelette-like substance wrapped around the dog, and yes, people order regular hot dogs in the morning.

The Rayas are no strangers to hard work. They're recently retired from a mobile car-washing business, where they hosed down patrol cars. And if you've heard of Brown Bear's Hotdogs before, it's because the couple has run a trailer of the same name for three years. Opening the stand allows them to get more fancy with the hot dogs.

Details: 7040 N. Fresno St.,

In other news Jimmy John's is celebrating the newest location of its sandwich shop, even though it's been open a little while. It's at 7730 N. First St., near Nees Avenue and First Street.

Table Mountain Casino has added a mariachi buffet. Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. you dine to the sound of Trio Sensacion.