It’s a Man Eat Dog World

In late 2005, The DogHouse, a specialty restaurant offering hot dogs and other classic American foods, appeared on Milpas Street, featuring traditional dishes like Philly Cheese Steak along with unique twists such as the avocado-and-bacon-topped Cali Hot dog. Although dedicated foodies like Arthur von Wiesenberger of the popular Nippers.com restaurant-review website, and The Salmon on edhat.com, among others, raved about The DogHouse in print and on the radio, Milpas Street was not the best location for such an innovative concept. “We couldn’t make it work on Milpas; people go from Milpas to State Street but not from State to Milpas,” owner Tony Debok explains during a short interview.

So, The DogHouse has changed its name and location and has moved to bustling lower State Street. Debok and his three partners, instead of pulling in their horns, have revamped and expanded their menu to fit the new establishment, called Lettuce B. Frank.

The new setting, situated between the multiple nightclubs and bars that inhabit lower State, seems quite the opposite atmosphere from the outdoor, picnic-style patio The DogHouse offered. Lettuce B. Frank is a sports-lover’s haven with hanging flat panel TVs viewable from every location and a casual bar space. Tables are set up in a row against lettuce-green walls that are the restaurant’s namesake; a booth is arranged in front of a giant mural that presumably reflects much that a Lettuce B. Frank customer would love: football, food, and Santa Barbara.

The menu has undergone significant changes too. With the help of partner, head chef, and Culinary Institute of America graduate Vincent Regina, Lettuce B. Frank offers a variety of dishes such as wings, mini-hamburgers – known as sliders – salads, and even cupcakes. The new menu offers beer and wine in addition to freshly made Sangria and “saktails” (flavorful mixtures of sake). These items are meant to appeal both day and night, which is why business hours extend as late as 2 am. Most of the old favorites that made The DogHouse so doggone good (like the crispy crunchy sweet-potato fries) remain on the menu as well.

Lettuce B. Frank offers both a catering service and home delivery. Plans call for the partners to open other smaller locations as offshoots. According to Debok, “We want to franchise, put [Lettuce B. Frank] on the cobblestones.”

Lettuce B. Frank at 413 State Street (805-965-7948) is currently operating Tuesday through Sunday from 11am- 2 am.