Dog n Suds

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Dog n Suds
Industry Fast food
Founded 1952 in Champaign, Illinois
Founder James Griggs, Don Hamacher
Headquarters Champaign, Illinois, USA
Number of locations
Area served
Midwestern United States
Products Hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, root beer
Website Homepage

Dog n Suds is a midwestern United States chain of root beer and hot dog drive-in style eateries featuring the once popular and now rare form of in-car "carhop" delivery service.


The first Dog n Suds was opened in 1953 in Champaign, Illinois, by University of Illinois music teachers James Griggs and Don Hamacher. The chain grew rapidly throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and a training center was established in Champaign, named "Rover College" after the dog on the restaurant signage.[2] At its peak in the mid-1970s, the chain had about 600 restaurants. Griggs sold his interest in the business in the early 1970s. Later owners abandoned the franchise business and sold the rights to make Dog n Suds branded root beer to another company.

In 1991, Don and Carol VanDame, owners of a Dog n Suds in Lafayette, Indiana, purchased the Dog n Suds trademark and identity rights.[2] In 2001, the VanDames created a new company, TK&C's LLC, to administer licensing rights for the brand.[3][4]

Don Hamacher died on January 4, 2013.[5]


Background: classic Dog n Suds canopy (note "Root Beer" sign); foreground: archetypical Dog n Suds meal – a loaded hot dog, french fries, and root beer

Dog n Suds serves many different food items, but mainly serves hot dogs. The "Dog" in Dog n Suds represents the Coney Island hot dog-style chili con carne over hot dog or chili dog served there, while the "Suds" represent its super-sweet original formula homemade root beer, which is served in frosted glass mugs and claimed to be "The World's Creamiest Root Beer." Dog n Suds root beer can also be found in some vending machines throughout the midwest, retail stores in the Midwest, and is also available by internet orders in plastic and glass bottles from various retailers.

Another favorite from the classic Dog n Suds menu is the Texas Burger. This burger is made using two burger patties, 1½ buns (One top, one middle, and one bottom), a slice of cheese on the top burger, lettuce and the Dog n Suds secret sauce on the middle bun, and Coney sauce on the bottom bun.


As of March 2015, there are 14 Dog n Suds restaurants in the United States. [1][6]

The oldest location still operating is in Robinson, Illinois. Opened in 1953, it was the second Dog n Suds location.[7]

shot under the canopy of a lit-up car-hop restaurant at twilight
The Dog n Suds in Lafayette, Indiana opened in 1956[7] 
Root beer bottle
Dog n Suds brand root beer was also bottled and sold in stores 
Carhop type restaurant named "Coney Hut"
Many defunct Dog n Sudses have been repurposed,[7] as here (note "Root Beer" signs retained here) 
Colorful, busy lit neon sign with an anthropomorphic dog waiter and the legend "Dog n Suds"
Classic Dog n Suds sign, lit at night 


  1. ^ a b "Dog n Suds locations". Dog n Suds official website. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Dog n Suds History". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)". Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ Hawk, Jason (2008-04-02). "Dog ‘n Suds owner doesn’t sell after all, keeps tradition going". The Chronicle-Telegram. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  5. ^ "Donald Hamacher obituary". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ List of all Dog n Suds locations
  7. ^ a b c "Dog n Suds Drive-ins". Roadside Architecture. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 

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