Willie Dogs looks to make waves as the creator of the “Omaha Style Hot Dog” at the Inner Rail – The Omaha News
Omaha News

Willie Dogs looks to make waves as the creator of the “Omaha Style Hot Dog” at the Inner Rail – The Omaha News

By: Jackson Piercy

OMAHA, Neb. – After starting his business in early 2020, and then putting said business on the backburner during the COVID-19 pandemic, Barry started his business catering, just enough to get himself a hot dog cart. Since then, he has grown to four carts and now a brick-and-mortar store in Aksarben’s Inner Rail Food Hall. 

Barry, an Omaha native since the day he was born, has been blazing a trail for his business by creating a hot dog that you can only get in Omaha. 

“The goal has always been, from the get, to create something synonymous with Omaha,” Barry said. “You come here for Berkshire Hathaway, you come here for the College World Series, and it’s like, you have to get a Willie Dog while you’re in Omaha because you can’t get them anywhere else.” 

The Willie Dogs location within Aksarben’s Inner Rail in Omaha, NE. (Photo/Jackson Piercy)

Instead of going by way of toppings, like the Chicago Style Hot Dog, or by the water it’s made in, like New York’s Dirty Water Hot Dog, Barry said that what separates his hot dog from the rest is what is on the inside. With a specific secret blend of spices, stuffed in a natural casing, and cold smoked, Barry said that it’s on the inside of the hot dog that counts. 

As both Barry and the Inner Rail’s Hospitality Director, Kurtis Mast would tell, “starting a business up right before a pandemic will have its fair share of difficulties.”

Even now, where a US Chamber of Commerce report states that access to startup capital is still reduced since the pandemic, Barry and Mast have tied their success to local sources to supplement their businesses, and found success in that practice. 

A Brookings Institution report stated that cities build identity through the resources that are local to that particular area, and where Nebraska shines more than most is in the area of cattle, where a Wisevoter report placed Nebraska at fourth in the country in total cattle, with over 1.8 Million total head of cattle. 

The Inner Rail, home of a variety of food establishments is the new permanent location of Willie Dogs. (Photo/Jackson Piercy)

Willie Dogs’ opening has brought much attention to the Inner Rail, as Mast would be the first to tell. 

“It’s wild, because this has been one of the most anticipated food ventures that we’ve put in here, for some reason he’s just got this spark to him,” Mast said. 

Mast originally had the idea to put in a hot dog restaurant before even talking to Barry. When Mast reached out to Barry to source the hot dogs for the restaurant, they figured it best to get rid of the other restaurant, and to move Willie Dogs into the slot where the original idea was to take place. 

Willie Dogs had their grand opening on October 6th, and looks to continue catering and coming up with new and interesting hot dogs with what is immediately available to them, according to Barry.

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