PO‘IPU — Puka Dog co-owner Jenna French has a vision for her company that continues to receive national recognition from television and acclaimed national magazines.
The Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs continues to work towards its goal of becoming a restaurant franchise, and a recent recognition from Food &Wine magazine is helping the company move closer to that goal.
The magazine named Kaua‘i’s Puka Dog the best hot-dog restaurant in Hawai’i, and one of the top-50 hot-dog spots in the United States.
“The sweet-tart passion fruit mustard from Aunty Lilikoi is one of the top tastes of Kaua‘i without actually traveling to Kaua‘i,” the magazine article stated. “You can order as much as you want online, so it makes perfect sense that it ended up being the signature topping at the Puka Dog, Kaua‘i’s favorite hot-dog joint.”
The Puka Dog, located across from Po‘ipu Beach in Brennecke’s Deli, also gained recent acclaim from HGTV, and the Travel Channel is in the process of doing a feature on the company.
The Travel Channel visited them in late 2019, but the station chose to hold the feature since Hawai‘i has been shut down from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jenna French, who has 40% percent ownership in a partnership with her mother-in-law Christine French, said their next big goal is to open a second location on the island.
The signature Puka Dog is considered a Hawaiian-style hot dog that has a 100%, naturally fresh-baked Hawaiian sweet bun with a puka, Hawaiian for “hole,” in which the hot dog is inserted.
The restaurant features a Polish sausage or veggie dog nestled in the bun with a garlic lemon secret sauce, a tropical-fruit relish and Hawai‘i’s very own Aunty Lilikoi mustard, according to the company’s website.
The setback from the pandemic hasn’t diminished the family from moving their main initiatives for their company forward.
“In the future, we hope to expand on the island and have a second location,” Jenna French said. “COVID-19 hasn’t changed our goals. We have the same goals that we did before, and we are stoked that we’ve been able to make it through COVID-19.”
The local support received, which has been the company’s lifeblood since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has continued to carry the company through the pandemic.
“We love that we get the local support and the community supports our business,” French said. “We are a staple to the island with our tropical relishes and all of our bread. It’s an honor that we had the opportunity to win this award and had the support.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or [email protected]