Steve's Hot Dogs serves signature hot dogs, crinkle fries and drinks at its St. Louis locations.

Steve’s Hot Dogs, Home of the St. Louis Dog, Sizzles with Excitement

Monday August 28, 2023

By Rachel Huffman

How does the lead singer of The Urge become a hot dog restaurateur?

“I was born and raised in St. Louis, but I lived in Los Angeles for a long time,” Steve Ewing, founder of Steve’s Hot Dogs, says. “When my wife and I returned to St. Louis, I felt like I needed to pursue a new avenue, so I bought a hot dog cart.”

Ewing hoped to fill a gap in the local music scene with late-night eats. “After most of my shows, no one could find food, so we’d end up somewhere like Waffle House. I thought a hot dog cart would be the best way to feed a hungry crowd after a concert.”

A year and a half later, Ewing opened the first brick-and-mortar location of Steve’s Hot Dogs on The Hill, followed by a second location on Magnolia and Arkansas avenues near Tower Grove Park.

Steve Ewing, owner of Steve's Hot Dogs, poses in his restaurant on South Grand.
Steve Ewing | Photo by Mark Hermes

Over the years, Steve’s Hot Dogs has become a St. Louis staple, but prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ewing decided to close the business.

“I asked my friend Danni Eickenhorst to write the press release,” he says. “She agreed, but she said, ‘Let’s see what happens. Let’s see if you really want to close in a week.’ We did some ridiculous number like $50,000 in sales that week.”

Danni and her husband, Marcus “Ike” Eickenhorst, who own The Fountain on Locust, offered to partner with Ewing. Their partnership, along with the outpouring of love and support from the St. Louis community, convinced him to reconsider the closure.

The team hustled during the pandemic, finding their footing with curbside pickup and delivery, and when the world began to reopen, a coveted spot along South Grand Boulevard became available. Ewing knew that they needed to move to achieve their vision of growth, and today, the restaurant buzzes with activity.

“You’ll find the true flavor of St. Louis in neighborhoods like South Grand,” Ewing says. “On the six-block stretch, you can eat around the world. It’s always been a special place to hang out, whether you want to eat, drink or shop.”

Hot dogs and 15-minute halftimes are a match made in sports, which is why Steve’s Hot Dogs also has a stall at CITYPARK, and next year, it plans to open a much-anticipated location at the Delmar Maker District with a similarly bright, vibrant and welcoming vibe.

The St. Louis Dog features a fresh bun lined with Provolone and an all-beef hot dog topped with grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, banana peppers, bacon and smoked pepper mustard.
St. Louis Dog | Photo by Mark Hermes

Steve’s Hot Dogs carefully considers every aspect of its hot dogs. The dog itself is cold-smoked and fire-grilled; the locally sourced buns come from Companion Baking Co.; and the toppings add complex, surprising and exciting flavors to each concoction.

“We’ve developed some really fun recipes to create an elevated experience,” Ewing says. “That’s what makes Steve’s Hot Dogs stand out.”

If you want to try the bestseller, order the Gorilla Mac & Cheese Dog, featuring an all-beef hot dog smothered with creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, chopped bacon and crispy onions.

The St. Louis Dog, on the other hand, is downright famous. Named by the mayor of St. Louis and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen as the official hot dog of the city, it features a fresh bun lined with Provolone and an all-beef hot dog topped with grilled onions, grilled bell peppers, banana peppers, bacon and smoked pepper mustard.

Vegan? Fear not. Steve’s Hot Dogs can convert almost anything on the menu with its plant-based frankfurter and toppings such as chili, pickles and celery salt.

You’ll want to make room for crinkle fries, too. The Bacon Bacon Jamaican Fries are tossed in jerk seasoning and covered in cheese sauce, honey-chipotle sauce, grilled bell peppers and chopped bacon, while the Darth Tater Fries boast buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, bacon and Cheddar.

Steve's Hot Dogs has a location on South Grand in St. Louis.
Steve’s Hot Dogs location on South Grand | Photo by Mark Hermes

The South Grand location allows for a bar, and Steve’s Hot Dogs serves signature cocktails such as Baby Yoda (orange vodka, pomegranate vodka, melon liqueur, falernum syrup and pineapple syrup) and Purple Rain (housemade lavender lemonade, gin and butterfly pea flower extract).

Oh so satisfying, Steve’s City Seltzer is another favorite among patrons. Produced by 4 Hands Brewing Co., the light and refreshing hard seltzer delivers a fruity punch with delightful blueberry flavors and a hint of lemon zest.

Produced by 4 Hands Brewing Co., Steve's City Seltzer delivers a fruity punch with delightful blueberry flavors and a hint of lemon zest.
Steve’s City Seltzer | Photo by Mark Hermes

From comedy to karaoke to trivia, Steve’s Hot Dogs perpetuates its fun, casual vibe with weekly events. Jumping at any opportunity to support his community, as it’s supported him, Ewing also participates in neighborhood festivals such as Dine Around, the annual South Grand restaurant crawl.

“Food and drinks bring people together,” Ewing says, “but we want to give people even more reasons to gather and have a good time.”