TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – It took a little convincing for John Van Dekker to fully understand his little brother Carl's idea of opening an artisanal sausage shop.
“He pitched it to me as — I can't remember exactly what words he used — something to the effect of 'It's not hot dogs, but think hot dogs,'” John said. “I'm like 'Really? Are you sure?'”
But John came around, he said, when he tried four different dogs and they blew his socks off. Now, John said, he's been eating his brother's dogs for three or four weeks straight.
John and Carl Van Dekker are the co-owners of Village Dog, a new artisanal sausage shop located at 18 Main Street in Tarrytown. Carl, a Hastings resident, is the chef. Cortlandt resident John manages the shop and jokes he's “quality control.”
Sausages and toppings are made fresh at the restaurant, along with three in-house sodas. Carl said what makes their food special is their dedication to buying local, sustainably raised products.
“It tastes better,” Carl said. “It's not just about the ethics, which are wonderful and I feel very strongly about, but a well-raised pig tastes better than what you can buy in a supermarket. Properly grown produce has a much richer, denser flavor than what you see at your local store. So we think we can give a much more enjoyable product to the customer.”
John says the food they're serving is something he'd be comfortable giving to his own three kids.
“We make food that we can be proud to serve to other people and that we think is delicious,” he said.
The restaurant has been open for a few weeks, and both brothers said the response has been phenomenal. The brothers said Tarrytown is great because the people have a great sense of community. It also draws in people from the region, thanks to places like the Tarrytown Music Hall and Metro North, they said.
The unconventional menu can make people skeptical, John said, but they fall in love once they try a dog.
“Not everybody is as quick to flock to a hot dog that costs more than a conventional hot dog,” he said. “ But every time someone comes in here I see that look on their face that's like 'You know, I'm glad I stopped in.'”
Carl said his favorite customers are the kids.
“You see the kid chow down and go right through it and I'm back there with a grin on my face,” he said. “I think the response has been tremendous. It's been better than either of us predicted”