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Passion for food is hallmark of Sully’s Dog Shack

By Rod Lee

Situated across the street from McGee Toyota and just down the road from Nichols College—in Dudley—Sully’s Dog Shack is deceptively unpretentious.

But the small restaurant packs a big wallop.

“The Home of the Passion Dog” is the first clue anyone would need that Sully’s is all about the food. Owned and operated by John Sullivan, a retired telephone-company worker, and his wife Laurie, a realtor, Sully’s boasts a menu that any aficionado of fare that excites would appreciate.

The Passion Dog, “pineapple, cheddar cheese, honey mustard and bacon,” is a signature item and one of the most popular.

“That was a recommendation from a customer when we first opened,” Ms. Sullivan said while prepping for the usual lunchtime rush the morning of January 25th.

The Passion Dog typifies Ms. Sullivan’s approach to what is offered at Sully’s. That being, “who wants a plain old hot dog?”

“Specialty dogs” cover all the bases, then. There is the “Dudley dog” (sauerkraut, cheese, tabasco and celery salt). “Sully’s famous chili dog” (homemade chili, cheese, onion). The “holy smoker” (slice of bacon, cheese, celery salt, jalapeno, tobacco). The “volcano dog” (horseradish-jalapeno blend, tabasco, cheese). The “Chicago dog” (relish and onions under, pickles, tomato, mustard on top). And so on.

“Every month, something new,” Ms. Sullivan said.

Nothing is beyond the scope of her imagination, it seems. The “boober dog,” for instance. That’s peanut butter and jelly, mixed, on top of a hot dog. Then there is the “bunny poop.” A hot dog topped with egg salad. “Because at Easter time the bunnies lay eggs,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The Sullivan’s have owned the former Matty’s for eight years now. Ms. Sullivan worked at Matty’s, which offered “just hot dogs and burgers,” and she also waitressed at Lic’s Restaurant on Thompson Road for fifteen years “so I have a lot of experience in the industry,” she said. “I was helping the previous owners (of Matty’s) a few hours a day, never thinking back in March of the year we took over that it would evolve into this.”

One would think that a scrumptious menu that includes not only specialty dogs but the “Sully burger” (with sautéed mushrooms, two slices of bacon and cheese sauce), Italian sausage, kielbasa, pulled pork with cole slaw, BLT’s, homemade soups, homemade Polish food (pierogis and golabki), homemade fish and chips and homemade shepherd’s pie, food alone would be the irresistible draw.

“Some people come just for my pretty face,” Ms. Sullivan said, laughing.

Sully’s is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday’s from 11:00 to 7:00 and Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 to 3:00 with breakfast (pancake specials, fresh eggs and homemade corned beef hash) available until noon—weekends.

Recently, Sully’s won the Worcester Hot Dog Safari, on its first try in the competition. Best of all, Ms. Sullivan said, proceeds from the event benefit the Worcester County Food Bank and the Red Cross. “We do what we can to support local causes,” she said.

The first-place trophy Sully’s Dog Shack won in the Worcester Hot Dog Safari symbolizes the success John and Laurie Sullivan have enjoyed in their ownership of the Dudley restaurant.

The Sullivan’s have operated the concession stand at the Dudley Little League field, and last Friday they were catering a meal at the Senior Center.

As might be expected, Sully’s Dog Shack is a favorite of the Nichols College crowd. “Oh, yeah,” Ms. Sullivan said. “A lot of the time I can’t tell the kids from the coaches and professors.”

Her explanation for the hit Sully’s has been with customers is simple.

“You can go anywhere for a hot dog,” she said. At Sully’s, “it has to be unique.”

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.