The idea for one of the area’s popular food trucks was born around hot dogs and a campfire discussion about zombies.
"My husband, a friend, and myself were sitting around a campfire roasting hot dogs while talking about our fascination with zombies," said Lee Ann VanArtsdalen, who lives in Washington Twp. and owns the Zombie Dogz food truck along with her husband Dave. "I was going to school at the time for business and did all of my projects around our business idea. We then opened March of 2013."
The Zombie Dogz food truck now travels all over the Miami Valley selling gourmet hot dogs and fresh side dishes. One hot dog, called Sliced and Diced, is topped with roasted pears, goat cheese, mixed greens, balsamic reduction, and candied almonds. Another one, called the Mad Tiki, has homemade tropical salsa, mangoes, glazed pineapple, strawberries, mint, lime juice and white chocolate toasted coconut flakes.
"As far as the toppings go, they are really just things that either reminded us of our childhood, like our Mac 'n' Cheese Dog and others, are memories from some of most favorite sandwiches or foods we've enjoyed over the years," Lee VanArtsdalen said.
While the toppings may seem odd to put on a hot dog, the distinct flavors make it work, she said. Some of the sides include sweet potato salad, truffle oil mac ‘n’ cheese and baked potato chips.
The owners use the Zombie Dogz Facebook page to inform customers about where they will be each week, as well as what hot dogs and side dishes will be served. Only three or four hot dogs from the list are served each week.
One of the challenges the owners face at each stop is figuring out where to park.
"Where we park can be quite tricky," Lee VanArtsdalen said. "You really have to follow up on the zoning laws for the city/town you plan to vend at. I emphasized the city or town because most people assume that it's the same for the whole county or state and that's not the case at all. …It can be super-confusing but you always make sure that you're vending legally! We strive to always operate and conduct our business in a professional and legitimate manner."
Tony Pugnale, an applied physiology major at Wright State University, is a big fan of Zombie Dogz.
“The first time I had Zombie Dogz was at WSU during the Fall Fest event,” he said. “After that I followed them on Facebook so I could see when they were coming to locations around me. Whenever they come to Beavercreek I try to make sure I stop there. I love the combination of flavors with the toppings and the hot dogs are delicious.”