Dog ‘n Suds: Restaurants, Root Beer and History

A few years back, I became friends with David Hosticka online. David owned the Dog ‘n Suds locations in Montague (which had been in the Hosticka family for over 50 years) & Muskegon, both in Michigan

David is also the authority on the history of Dog ‘n Suds; his knowledge came in very handy when I was writing my book All About The Burger. He had also donated many Dog ‘n Suds historical memorabilia to my Burger Museum, so thanks to him, it was very well represented.

 Dog 'N Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Dog n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan

Current Dog ‘n Suds Restaurant Locations

ArkansasParagould319 E Kingshighway
CaliforniaTemecula28120 Jefferson Avenue
IllinoisGrayslake454 Center Street
IllinoisIngleside517 Washington Street
IllinoisRichmond11015 US-12
IllinoisRobinson902 E Main Street
IndianaLafayette601 Sagamore Parkway S
IndianaWest Lafayette401 Sagamore Parkway W
*MichiganMuskegon4221 Grand Haven Road
*MichiganMontague4454 Dowling Street
OhioElyria2050 N Ridge Road
WisconsinTomahawk1228 N 4th Street
*Temporarily Closed

What Happened to Dog ‘n Suds?

Restaurant Rewind: What Happened to Dog ‘n Suds?

All Former Dog ‘n Suds Restaurant Locations

All of this information comes from the 1973 Dog ‘n Suds Restaurant Directory.

Restaurants Locations Illinois A-H

FloridaFort Lauderdale1720 N Andrews Avenue
FloridaFort Lauderdale1791 W Broward Boulevard
FloridaFort LauderdaleS Riverland Road
FloridaHollywood1040 South State Road 7
FloridaHollywood28th Avenue and Moffett Street
FloridaLake Worth3174 Lake Worth Road
FloridaMiami9400 NW 17th Avenue
FloridaNaples210 9th Street North
FloridaNorth Fort Myers701 Pondelia Road
FloridaNorth Miami14230 West Dixie Highway
FloridaTampa6811 Nebraska Avenue
FloridaTampa4401 W Hillsboro Avenue
FloridaVenice1005 Cooper Street
FloridaWest Palm Beach4361 Okeechobee Boulevard

Restaurants Locations Illinois: A-L

IllinoisAddison19 W. 550 Lake Street
IllinoisAlsip11541 South Crawford
IllinoisAntiochRoute 173 & Depot Street
IllinoisAtwoodRoute 36
IllinoisAurora737 Hill Avenue
IllinoisAurora720 Prairie Street
IllinoisBarrington110 West Northwest Highway
IllinoisBatavia1105 North Washington
IllinoisBelleville5811 North Illinois Street
IllinoisBelleville916 Carlyle Avenue
IllinoisBelvidereRural Route 3
IllinoisBloomington805 Morrissey Drive
IllinoisByronColfax & Blackhawk Drive
IllinoisCahokia530 State Highway 3
IllinoisCalumet Park1414 West 127th Street
IllinoisCarpentersvilleRoute #25 North
IllinoisCarthage136 West Street
IllinoisChampaign1402 N. Prospect
IllinoisCharleston1416 Lincoln
IllinoisChicago6100 W. Belmont
IllinoisChicago4200 W. Madison Street
IllinoisChicago Heights707 Halsted Street
IllinoisChicago Heights1645 Western Avenue
IllinoisCicero6110 West Ogden Avenue
IllinoisCollinsville1824 North Vandalia Street
IllinoisCrest Hill660 Theodore Street
IllinoisCrystal Lake6410 Northwest Highway
IllinoisDecatur3666 East William
IllinoisDes Plaines740 North Wolf Road
IllinoisDes Plaines540 Algonquin Road
IllinoisDiamond Lake (Mundulein)Route 83 & Diamond Lake Road
IllinoisDixonFranklin Grove Road
IllinoisDolton844 E. Sibley Boulevard
IllinoisDowners Grove145 Ogden Avenue
IllinoisDundeeRoute 63
IllinoisDwightRoute 47 South
IllinoisEdwardsville1960 Troy Road
IllinoisElgin888 East Chicago Street
IllinoisFreeport1355 W. Galena
IllinoisGeneva415 East State Street
IllinoisGranite City2220 Pontdon Road
IllinoisGrayslake454 Center Street
IllinoisHarrisburg447 W. Poplar
IllinoisHarvard302 S. Division
IllinoisHarvey71 E. 147th Street
IllinoisHighland8 Broadway
IllinoisHomewood18225 Dixie Highway
IllinoisIngleside517 Washington Street
IllinoisJoliet1800 E. Cass Street
IllinoisLake ZurichRoute 12 and Golf View
IllinoisLansing17600 Torrence Avenue
IllinoisLemont1050 State Street
IllinoisLibertyville419 South Milwaukee Drive
IllinoisLindenhurst2130 East Grand Avenue
IllinoisLisle5522 Main Street
IllinoisLombard396 East St. Charles Road
IllinoisLoves Park1421 Harlem Road

Restaurants Locations Illinois: K-Z

IllinoisMcHenry2911 W. Route 120
IllinoisMacomb1208 N. LaFayette Street
IllinoisMarkham15940 Kedzie Avenue
IllinoisMarshall1004 South 6th Street
IllinoisMatteson211 Dog n Suds
IllinoisMendota1505 13th Avenue
IllinoisMidlothian14959 S. Crawford Avenue
IllinoisMonmouth1134 N. Main Street
IllinoisMt. MorrisHighway 64 East
IllinoisMt. Zion1040 State Hwy. 121
IllinoisNaperville26W012 Ogden Avenue
IllinoisNauvooHighway 96
IllinoisNewmanRoute 36
IllinoisNewtonRoute 33 East
IllinoisOak Forest15360 South Cicero
IllinoisOlney1025 W. Main Street
IllinoisOregonWashington & Second Street
IllinoisPanaRoute 51 South
IllinoisParisCentral & Jasper
IllinoisPeotoneRoute 54
IllinoisPhilo723 N. Lincoln Street
IllinoisPlainfieldU.S. 30
IllinoisRichmond11015 U.S. 12 North
IllinoisRobinson902 E. Main
IllinoisRochelleU.S. 51 South
IllinoisRock Falls1405 1st Avenue
IllinoisRockford4309 W. State Street
IllinoisRockford2404 South Alpine Road
IllinoisSt. CharlesRandall Road & Highway 64
IllinoisSandwichRoute #34 East
IllinoisSauk Village2550 Sauk Trail
IllinoisShabbona408 Commanche
IllinoisShelbyville317 N. Cedar
IllinoisSouth Chicago Heights163 West Sauk Trail
IllinoisSouth Holland170th & South Park
IllinoisSterling2607 E. Linconway
IllinoisStreamwood305 Bartlett Road
IllinoisStreator914 W. Main Street
IllinoisTinsley Park16500 Oak Park Avenue
IllinoisTremont500 West Pearl Street
IllinoisWashing Park1910 Kingshighway
IllinoisWauconda400 W. Liberty Street
IllinoisWaukegan2900 Belvidere Road
IllinoisWest Chicago206 S. Neltnor Boulevard
IllinoisWheatonMain & Geneva Street
IllinoisWheeling120 S. Elmhurst Road
IllinoisWood Dale123 W. Irving Park Road
IllinoisWood River1339 Edwardsville Road
IllinoisWoodstock1216 N. Seminary
IllinoisWorth11208 S. Harlem
IndianaAtticaJunction 41 & 28 North
IndianaBloomington2000 S. Walnut Street
IndianaBrooksvilleU.S. 52 South
IndianaBurlingtonState Road #29 South

Restaurants Locations L-R

MichiganMt. Pleasant5600 E. Pickard
MichiganMuskegon5624 Apple Avenue
MichiganMuskegon4221 Grand Haven Road
MichiganNiles2216 South 11th Street
MichiganPontiac1045 Baldwin
MichiganQuinnesecBluff & U.S. #2
MichiganSt. Johns1120 N. U.S. 27
MichiganSault Ste. Marie2309 Ashmun Street
MichiganShelbyvilleR.R. #1 Gun Lake
MichiganStephensonU.S. 41
MinnesotaAlbert Lea2006 East Main
MississippiBrookhavenBrookway Plaza Shopping Center
MississippiCarthageJunction Route 35 & 16
MississippiClintonClinton Plaza Shopping Center
MississippiColumbiaOld Highway 98 and White Street
MississippiForest227 Woodland Drive
MississippiJackson180 Raymond Road
MississippiJackson2921 West Capitol
MississippiJacksonP.O. Box 9421
MississippiJackson558 West Northside Drive
MississippiJacksonHighway 80 East
MississippiJackson1416 Canton Mart Road
MississippiLaurel16th Avenue & Congress Street
MississippiMageeNew Highway 49 North
MississippiMcCombHighway 24 West & Harper
MississippiMendenhallHighway 49 & East Street
MississippiNewtonInterstate 20 & Highway 15
MississippiOcean Springs
MississippiVan WinkleHighway 80 & Robinson Road
MississippiVicksburg3421 Washington
MissouriAuroraHwy. 60 East
MissouriBelton1600 North Scott
MissouriBlue SpringsHighway 7
MissouriBransonStar Rt. 1
MissouriBrookfieldHwy. 36 & State Street
MissouriCamdentonHwy. 54 East
MissouriCameron8th & Walnut Street
MissouriCarrolltonHighway 65 & 24
MissouriDesotoRural Route #2
MissouriHigginsville806 Fairground Avenue
MissouriIndependence19010 Ponce Drive
MissouriJoplin2701 Range Line Road
MissouriKansas CityValley Lane N – Highway 71
MissouriKnob NosterOld Hwy. 50
MissouriLake OzarkBus Rt. 54
MissouriLebanon630 South Jefferson
MissouriLee’s Summit307 No. 71 By Pass
MissouriLexington13th Highway & 20th Street
MissouriLiberty602 South 71 By Pass
MissouriMarshall1066 South Odell
MissouriMaryville722 S. Main
MissouriMill CreekStar Route
MissouriMoberlyHwy. 24 East
MissouriMonettHighway 37 South
MissouriNeosho1104 West Harmony
MissouriO’Fallon512 Sonderen
MissouriPerryvillePerry Plaza
MissouriRichmondHighway 13 South
MissouriSt. Joseph1401 So. Belt Highway
MissouriSt. Louis150 Kingston Drive
MissouriSt. Louis2901 Arsenal
MissouriSt. Louis8521 Airport Road
MissouriSedalia20th St. & Limit Avenue
MissouriSpringfield1645 N. Glenstone
MissouriTroyHighway 47 at 61
MissouriWebb City1312 South Madison
MissouriWentzville901 W Pearce Boulevard
MissouriWindsorNorth Main Street
NebraskaBellevue2207 Georgia Avenue
NebraskaBroken BowEast of City, Box 438
NebraskaKimballU.S. Highway 30 East
NebraskaNorth Platte825 South Jeffers
NebraskaPlattsmouthSo. Chicago Avenue
New HampshireKenne233 Marlborough Street
New MexicoClovis1530 Thornton Street
PennsylvaniaWaterfordRoute 19 South
PennsylvaniaWhite OakRainbow Shopping Center

Restaurants Locations S-Z

South DakotaMitchell605 S. Sanborn
South DakotaRapid City302 Omaha Street
South DakotaSturgisJct. Harmon & Hwy. 14
TennesseeGatlinburg1009 Parkway
TennesseePigeon ForgeHwy. 441
TennesseeSelmerHwy. 45
UtahLayton1643 Main Street
West VirginiaMorgantown3510 Monongahela Boulevard
West VirginiaMoundsville
West VirginiaWeirtonColliers Way Street & Pennsylvania Avenue
WisconsinAntigo130 Superior Street
WisconsinBeaver DamRoute #1 – 151 North
WisconsinBlack River FallsForrest Street & Highway 27
WisconsinBurlington957 Milwaukee Avenue
WisconsinDelafieldState Highway 83 & I-94
WisconsinDelavan721 Geneva Street
WisconsinElkhorn645 N. Lincoln
WisconsinFond Du LacHwy. 41 & Grove Street
WisconsinFort Atkinson1259 W. Madison Avenue
WisconsinJanesville1929 Center Avenue
WisconsinJanesville2728 E. Milwaukee Avenue
WisconsinLake Geneva743 North Street
WisconsinManitowoc2525 Menasha Avenue
WisconsinMarshfield1608 Roddis Avenue
WisconsinMenomonee FallsW156-N8390 Pilgrim Road
WisconsinMilton32 Janesville Street
WisconsinMilwaukee10020 W. Appleton Avenue
WisconsinMilwaukee4225 W. Custer Avenue
WisconsinMonroe3004 E. 13th Street
WisconsinOakdaleP.O. 105
WisconsinRacine3458 Rapids Drive
WisconsinRacine2217 Lathrop
WisconsinReadstownJct. U.S. Hwy. 14 & 61
WisconsinRichland CenterU.S. Highway 14 East
WisconsinSlingerRoute 1
WisconsinTomahawkRoute 1
WisconsinWalworthRoute B and Highway 36
WisconsinWatertownHighway 16-26
WisconsinWaukesha1303 Arcadian Avenue
WisconsinWausaukeeHighway 141

Dog ‘n Suds History

Year Founded: 1953
City Founded: Champaign, Illinois
Founders: James Griggs & Don Hamacher
Number of Locations at the chain’s peak: 650
Slogan: “…Where Everything’s So Dog-gone Good!”

Champaign High School orchestra director Jim Griggs and chorus director Don Hamacher had heard about a coach in a neighboring town running a successful root beer stand. They figured they, too, could make a go of it.

Griggs reached out to an acquaintance, a graduate student at a nearby university, who created the restaurant’s layout and design. He then constructed a model of his drive-in creation and called it Dog ‘n Suds.

Why that Name?

Why that name? The student said the name embraced what they were selling: hot dogs and suds, a slang word for root beer. The name stuck.

Griggs, who was giving violin lessons to the children of attorney John Franklin, told him about the idea for Dog ‘n Suds and his business plan. Franklin not only helped find their first location but financed the project and gave them legal advice.

In 1953, Dog ‘n Suds opened in Champaign, Illinois, as a drive-in, employing Hamacher’s and Griggs’ students as carhops. On the first day, with only Coney dogs and root beer on the menu, they did three hundred dollars in sales.

Hamacher’s wife Maggie created the Coney sauce for the hot dogs, and Reed and Bell was the brand of root beer they served.

Expansion by Franchising

So many cars lined up at the Dog ‘n Suds the first week that police officers showed up to direct traffic at night. The success of Dog ‘n Suds led Hamacher and Griggs to leave behind their life of education and embrace their newfound profession, which was multiplying quickly via franchising.

What made being a Dog ‘n Suds franchisee so attractive was that there was only a one-time franchise fee and no royalty percentage to be paid to the corporation. The first franchise was sold to a woman who inquired about franchising just a week after opening.

Her Dog ‘n Suds opened shortly afterward in Rantoul, Illinois. Before they knew it, Dog ‘n Suds drive-ins sprouted up all over Illinois. In quick succession, the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan followed.

By 1960, the famous Dog ‘n Suds “World’s Creamiest Root Beer” recipe and equipment had been developed. Forbes rated Dog ‘n Suds as one of the top-growing franchises in the 1960s.

Rover College

There was even a training center in Champaign named Rover College after its mascot. The eight-day course covered the technical, marketing, and administrative aspects of the Dog ‘n Suds business. Upon graduation, graduates received a master of drive-inology degree.

At their peak in 1968, there were over six hundred Dog ‘n Suds locations in thirty-eight states and Canada, with approximately fifteen new restaurants opening each month.

In 1969, Franklin, who was in poor health, and Griggs, wanted to sell their shares of the company. Hamacher got four of his friends to buy out Franklin and Griggs. At this point, many of their food contemporaries had gone public, and Hamacher thought that Dog ‘n Suds could too.

Unfortunately, the Minnie Pearl debacle, which also derailed Royal Castle, killed those chances. Dog ‘n Suds was sold to the American Licensing Company in 1970.

By the time Dog ‘n Suds moved its HQ to Arlington Heights, Illinois, in 1972, the number of Dog ‘n Suds locations was hovering around 450. Rover College had also found a new home in Arlington.

Merger with Frostie

Dog ‘n Suds agreed to merge with Frostie Enterprises; which not only sold its own branded root beer but also owned 120 Stewart’s Drive-In locations. On August 12, 1975, Frostie bought out the majority stake in Dog ‘n Suds for $750,000.

Frostie implemented cost-cutting measures that hurt Dog ‘n Suds on the franchise front. They also made the weird decision to change their root beer recipe, which did not sit well with longtime fans.

Many Dog ‘n Suds locations either dropped the name and rebranded or closed altogether. No new restaurants were opening at this point, and by the end of 1975, they were down to 350 drive-ins. The newfound popularity of drive-thrus didn’t help things either.

By 1978, the Dog ‘n Suds company had shrunk to 140 restaurants. The following year, the retail root beer business and restaurants were sold to two separate companies.

Shining Light on the Horizon

There were only twenty-four Dog ‘n Suds left in 1990 when the company was sold again. Just when things seemed hopeless, a shining light appeared out of the darkness. Don Van Dame, whose father had opened the first Indiana franchise of Dog ‘n Suds, his wife Carol, and his partner, Dick Morath, purchased the Dog ‘n Suds trademark in 1991.

That same year, they started selling the “World’s Creamiest Root Beer” to supermarkets in the Midwest. In 2001, they created a new company to license the Dog ‘n Suds brand. In 2006, the Van Dames entered into an exclusive agreement with Clover Club Bottling Co. to bottle their root beer.

Currently, there are fourteen active Dog ‘n Suds locations where you can still get your coney dogs, root beer, and charco burgers.

Current Dogn Suds Menu

Dog 'n Suds Muskegon, Michigan Menu

Dog ‘n Suds Must Eats

Cheese Curds from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Cheese Curds
Corn Dog from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Corn Dog
Dog 'n Suds Meal in Muskegon, Michigan
Dog ‘n Suds Meal
French Fries with a side of Coney Sauce from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Crinkle Cut Fries with a side of Coney Sauce
Black Cherry Ice Cream Float from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Black Cherry Ice Cream Float
Cheeseburger and Black Cherry Ice Cream Float
Cheeseburger and Black Cherry Ice Cream Float
Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Bacon Double Cheeseburger

DnS at Wiener Bash

David Hosticka at Wiener Bash
David Hosticka talks Dog ‘n Suds history and Wiener Bash

In late 2017, I held my semi-annual event Wiener Bash, and David drove down to Miami, Florida, with wieners and coney sauce on dry ice to participate in the competition.

We had a great time, and I finally had the opportunity to try one of their famed Coney Dogs.

Coney Dog with Onions and Mustard from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Coney Dog with Onions and Mustard

I knew that a visit to one of his Dog ‘n Suds was now absolutely mandatory.

When I began piecing together my road trip book signing itinerary, I knew in my Charco Broiled Burger heart that Dog ‘n Suds had to be one of the stops. I called David and ran the idea past him. He wholeheartedly agreed.

Marcela and I finally had the opportunity to drop in, enjoy the ambiance, and marvel at the detail that he had put into making this drive-in masterpiece. If that wasn’t enough, the food was killer too.

Charco Broiled Texas Burger from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Charco Broiled Texas Burger

I can’t praise enough that Charco Broiled Texas Burger with its American cheese, special sandwich sauce, and coney sauce on a perfectly toasted double-decker bun.

What about the Coney Dog with its sweet and addictive coney sauce, mustard, and onions? Or how about the DnS Root Beer served in a frosty glass mug?

It was an experience of a lifetime. I wish that there were still some Dog ‘n Suds locations in Miami like there were in the 1960s.

All About the Burger Book Signing

Dog ‘n Suds Book Signing – Saturday, May 11th, 2019

One of the highlights of my All About the Burger book signing tour was that I finally met Troy Smith of Restaurant Rewind. He drove from Chicago, Illinois, for the signing.

We spent most of the afternoon discussing old restaurant chains between the signings. Marcela took several pictures of the restaurant portion of the Dog ‘n Suds Drive-In before the book signing started.

I hope you enjoy them.

Dine-in Area from Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Dine-in Area
Kitchen Area at Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Kitchen Area
Restaurant Rewind's Troy Smith at Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Restaurant Rewind’s Troy Smith
Vintage Jukebox at Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Vintage Jukebox
Vintage Dog 'n Suds Picture at Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Vintage Dog ‘n Suds Picture
Burger Beast signing his book, All About The Burger at the Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Burger Beast signing his book, All About The Burger
Historical Memorabilia at the Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Historical Memorabilia
Maria, Juliauna, Burger Beast, and owner David Hosticka at the Dog 'n Suds in Muskegon, Michigan
Maria, Juliauna, Burger Beast, and owner David Hosticka

Thank you to David Hosticka for all the hospitality. We hope to visit again very soon. It would also be the perfect time to host a Wiener Bash in Michigan, but that’s a conversation for another day!

P.S.: Please visit David’s and my pet project, the Drive-In Restaurants with Car Hops across the U.S. page (click here).

We are trying to keep an accurate list of all operating Drive-Ins with carhops across the United States. If you know of one that I did not list, please let me know!

10 thoughts on “Dog ‘n Suds: Restaurants, Root Beer and History”

  1. Thanks for the interesting piece on Dog N Suds! My grandparents operated a Dog N Suds in Barberton, OH in the early 70’s. My best childhood memories are of getting to go to office in the basement with my Grandma and eating that delicious food and drinking the awesome root beer. I aspired to be a roller-skating carhop, but they sold before I was old enough.

  2. I live in Champaign and grew up with Dog n Suds. I know they had over 600 hundred locations in 38 States (plus Canada) at one point. In the last 20 years, one franchisee opened a location in Champaign, but it failed within a few years. Unfortunately, that location had very poor service — my family waited nearly an hour for our “fast food” order in the dining room. I am a little shocked that DnS didn’t (or hasn’t) adopted a drive-thru model much like SONIC Drive In’s. Sonic now has over 3,000 locations and I think DnS could have done that. I do like the Dine In Area shown here. We didn’t have those in the old drive ins, and the new franchise looked a little bit like that, but was darker and much more cavernous (I would estimate the ceiling in the dining room was ~20′ tall)

  3. I worked at a dog n suds when I was 14. 90 cents per hour never could understand why they closed. all small towns around had one and we were very busy while I was there.

  4. Is there a list somewhere of the DnS root beer locations in the Midwest. I used to know of 2 locations in the Kansas City metro area and one that I just found on Google maps street view. I’d like to see / document what their locations are nowadays.


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