Vancouver Street-Food Phenomenon Japa Dog Readies for St. Marks Debut

Picnik collageDaniel Maurer, Japa Dog The store as it was today, and a rendering of the interior design.

This morning, The Local spotted a construction crew working on the East Village outpost of Japa Dog, the Japanese-style hot dog chain that counts Anthony Bourdain (and apparently Ice Cube and Steven Seagal) as fans. Noriki Tamura, who founded the chain in Vancouver, Canada, where it now boasts four mobile locations and a storefront, said the first of what he hoped would be multiple New York City outposts (including hot dog stands) will open at 30 St. Marks Place sometime next month.

So why St. Marks? “There are so many stores here; so many restaurants,” said Mr. Tamura, with the aid of an interpreter.

Asked about Crif Dogs a couple of blocks away, Mr. Tamura said he wasn’t worried about the competition. “They’re so different,” he said. Japa Dog, he pointed out, uses custom-made Japanese-style sausages containing ingredients like Kobe beef and Berkshire pork, which can be topped with yeriyaki sauce, daikon sprouts, miso, and the like. French fries can be paired with curry, wasabi, and such.

The St. Marks location will be open from 11 a.m. till 1 a.m. on weekdays and later on weekends. With the city’s blessing, it will eventually offer sidewalk seating.

“Do you think it will be a success?” asked Mr. Tamura.

Maybe. Just maybe.