Tucson's 'Biggest, baddest' Sonoran dog is 18 inches

2012-06-07T00:00:00Z 2012-06-07T14:40:35Z Tucson's 'Biggest, baddest' Sonoran dog is 18 inchesGerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 07, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Brothers Omar and Jose Quijada are heavy hitters when it comes to their Sonoran hot dogs.

Their Fatdogs food stand, which they set up daily around Marana and northwest Tucson, has quickly earned a reputation for serving some of the biggest, baddest weenies in town.

A standard all-beef Sonoran-style Fatdog wrapped in thick, hickory-smoked bacon starts at eight inches.

After that you have the Double Fatdog - two dogs in a footlong bun - and the Super Fatdog, which is also 12 inches but includes four franks.

The Ultimate Fatdog, the biggest dog the Quijadas offer, weighs more than two pounds, is 18 inches long and includes six dogs with all the fixings: mustard, mayo, Mexican cheese, beans, grilled onions, tomatoes and a homemade avocado topping.

"We are not little guys," Omar Quijada said. "Fatdogs can't make little hot dogs. We've got to be the biggest and the best."

The Quijada brothers have been in the Sonoran hot dog business for a little less than two years.

They decided to open Fatdogs after they were laid off from their respective jobs in 2010.

Omar, who lives in northwest Tucson, was a truck driver. Jose, an Avra Valley resident, worked with troubled teens.

After the layoffs, "We didn't want to work for anyone ever again," Omar, 35, said.

The Quijadas invested $10,000 in a hot dog cart instead.

They applied for their business license and were up and running in less than six months.

Fatdogs has since built a loyal following thanks to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as through regular food truck roundups held in Marana and word-of-mouth referrals.

The Quijadas call members of their fanbase "Fatdoggers."

And much like the franks they serve, their ranks of loyal customers have swelled tremendously since they opened.

Depending on where they station themselves, Omar and Jose can go through 160 to 250 hot dogs a day.

The money they bring in is more than enough to live on, Omar said.

The stand recently increased its revenue by accepting debit card transactions, which they process using Omar's smartphone.

"You have to be able to accept cards on this side of town," he said.

Jose, 37, attributes part of their success to the quality of their ingredients.

The dogs are all beef; the bacon hickory-smoked. And the avocado sauce that they layer on top of each dog in lieu of jalapeño salsa is homemade.

Their pinto beans are cooked daily by their 78-year-old father, Jose Quijada Sr. and all the produce they use is delivered fresh.

Fatdogs special-orders its extra-long, extra-strong buns for all of its hot dogs from Alejandro's Tortilla Factory and Bakery, 5330 S. 12th Ave.

The normal Sonoran hot dog bun is about six inches long.

"We were using regular buns when we started," Omar said. "The hot dogs would rip the bread. The beans were overflowing. These buns hold everything."

Regular customer Wayne Rogers is partial to the regular Fatdog with extra peppers.

Rogers, 48, found the Quijadas when they were selling across the street from Mountain View High School, 3901 W. Linda Vista Blvd.

Today, Fatdogs has several regular spots, including the Afni call center at 5320 N. La Cholla Blvd., and Lowe's Home Improvement, 4075 W. Ina Road.

Rogers makes pilgrimages to Fatdogs as often as he can.

The Quijadas consider him one of their best customers.

The paint contractor even made a stop the same day he went into the hospital for two weeks with pneumonia.

"I'm a creature of habit," he said. "I ate about half my hot dog that day. That was about all I could do."

Randy Tolson, 28, discovered Fatdogs when the brothers started selling at Afni a few months ago.

Tolson, a customer-care representative for the company, said he has tried every Sonoran hot dog in town.

"This is it, right here," he said of Fatdogs. "I've driven from the east side of Tucson and passed every stand and Sonoran hot dog restaurant in town just to reach these guys."

Jose said the business has been successful enough that they hope to open a brick-and-mortar shop at Bashas' Cortaro Plaza, 8360 N. Thornydale Road, by the end of the year.

They'll continue to sling big dogs to hungry folks from their cart in the meantime.

"It's a good job," Omar said. "Nobody yells at us. We love cooking and we love all the people."

Find Fatdogs

Fatdogs sets up in several locations Mondays-Saturdays, including at the Afni call center, 5320 N. La Cholla Blvd., and Lowe's Home Improvement, 4075 W. Ina Road. Call 909-6943 or 440-0319 for day-to-day locations. You can also follow Fatdogs on Facebook at facebook.com/fatdogs.realmexicanhotdogs online.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...
StarNet newsletters

Sign up for StarNet suburban edition e-mail newsletters

Headlines from the weekly East suburban zone section of the Arizona Daily Star

Headlines from the weekly Foothills suburban zone section of the Arizona Daily Star

Headlines from the weekly Northwest suburban zone section of the Arizona Daily Star

I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site consitutesagreement to it's user agreement & privacy policy.

Event Calendar

Today's events | Add an event

Most viewed: