WHEELING, W.Va. - Who let the dogs out?
That would be Chris Burress. The Wheeling native has given hot-dog aficionados a delicious new dining spot.
Burress opened Tito's Sloppy Dogs some three months ago. It is situated in the heart of the Elm Grove business district - 2202 National Road - directly across from the Ohio County Schools offices.
CHRIS?BURRESS, left, the owner of Tito’s Sloppy Dogs in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling, poses inside the kitchen with his wife Angela.
Tito's Sloppy Dogs offers a hot dog for any desired taste. What helps set Tito's apart is that Burress uses only all-beef dogs. He refuses to use anything less.
Burress also prides himself on his home-made sauce. It is what makes his hot dogs unique.
"I like to experiment and my sauce is something I have worked on for a good while until I got to this point. I cannot reveal my recipe, but I have received great reviews on it," Burress said.
Burress caught the cooking bug from his dad, and that is where his new establishment got its name.
"My dad liked to cook. He was famous in Vineyard Hills for his four-man vegetable soup," he said. "All the neighbors would bring over their left-over vegetables and my dad would mesh them together. The entire neighborhood looked forward to his cooking."
But for those who may want to pursue other dog-topping options for their palate, they can choose from a myriad of toppings, including pulled pork, kraut, slaw or dozens of others.
For those wishing to step outside the hot dog bun, Tito's offers much more. Several varieties of salads and sandwiches are available, after you try one of the many tasty appetizers that Burress features.
Desserts came in the sweet form of Oliver's Pies from Centre Market. He also makes his Sloppy sauce available by the pint for take-out customers.
Tito's has been open for three months and Burress said his clientele is steadily growing, basically thanks to word of mouth. He is considering expanding operations to open for breakfast. His current hours are Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturdays, Tito's is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
His staff includes his wife, Angela, as well as his uncle.
After his dad whetted his appetite for cooking, Burress has subsequently spent his entire post-prep career schooling in the food business.
"I have worked in restaurants and food establishments all throughout the valley," the Wheeling Park grad noted. "At 25, I set a goal to open my restaurant by the time I turned 30. I turned 30 in December.
"I was thinking of launching a food truck, driving to various work sites," he added. "But this building became available and it was too good a deal to turn down."
Burress, who son Arjay is a standout sophomore gridder for Martins Ferry, makes no bones about why those looking for a quality lunch should patronize Tito's.
"We have the best doggone sauce in the Ohio Valley," he proudly says.
Chris and his wife reside in Brilliant.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.