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by Stephaniejoy Alliman, staff writer

Puka Dog: Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs, a popular Kaua‘i restaurant, recently opened in the Waikiki Tower Center right under Mad Dog Saloon. Owners and creators, Dominique and Rick Quinette, decided to bring their unique style hot dogs to O‘ahu because their factory that manufactures their sauces, relishes, and bread is located on O‘ahu.

The Hawaiian word puka means hole. The Puka Dog is a frankfurter inserted into a hole in a bun. Actually, the Quinette’s restaurant gives diners the choice of a Polish or veggie sausage, with four garlic-lemon “secret” sauces, ranging from mild to hot hot habañero.

The Hawaiian twist to these hot dogs are the seven fruit relishes diners can put on their hot dogs. Dominique developed these seven different relishes. There might be new flavors added, however, Mrs Quinette states, “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it,” but for now there are mango, guava, pineapple, papaya, coconut, banana, and star fruit relishes to pick from. If these don’t appeal, one can always go traditional with ketchup, sweet pickle relish, and/or mustard. Puka Dog even has two fruit mustards, lilikoi and guava.

Puka buns are made fresh daily. All of the condiments are put into the puka, and the hot dog goes in last, pushing and blending all the flavors throughout the entire bun. Puka Dog also makes it’s lemonade. It’s freshly squeezed while you wait for the puka dog to be prepared.

The original Puka Dog Restaurant in Kaua‘i has received many positive reviews and customer compliments, including reviews or mentions in Bon Appetit magazine and Mainline Restaurant Guide. In Modern Bride, one bride is quoted saying Puka Dog hot dogs are “one Kauaian specialty that’s worth traveling 3,000 miles for.”

Real Travel magazine concurs, saying, “No lie— these Puka Dogs are good enough on their own to warrant a trip to the island of Kaua‘i.”

Puka Dog even made it into a show on the Travel Channel. The episode, “Food Crazy Hot Dog Heavens,” explores the best hot dog restaurants in the United States.

Two of the workers at the Waikiki location, Michal Kopera and Dominic Green, said they never get tired of eating puka dogs. “There are so many different combinations to try,” said Kopera.

“ Each day we try something new,” added Green.

A California couple, the Engs, have a passion for hot dogs and have traveled the world comparing hot dogs where ever they go. After Mrs. Eng swallows her first bite said, “This puka dog is better than any New York hot dog.”

Puka Dog: Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.


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