Two roads diverged in a yellow wood … well, actually two roads diverged in Patchogue several years ago, when Jim and Michael Avino opened Catch Oyster Bar on North Ocean Avenue. They had been mulling another option. "Honestly, Catch was almost a hot dog place, and we switched gears at the last minute," said Michael Avino. The father and son never forgot about hot dogs, though. "We practiced making our own and learning all we could."
Three years later, the Avinos and a friend, Ron Siders, have cemented that original vision with Duke's Dogs, a hot dog-focused eatery they opened earlier this summer on South Ocean Avenue, where Fry Daddy's most recently did business, and named for a revered figure from Patchogue's history: a puppy the police saved from a cesspool in the late 1930s and went on to become their mascot.
Duke's is small and no-frills, with an eight-seat bar, a handful of tables and a window counter, and the menu is mostly given over to specialty dogs, from a reuben dog (grilled pastrami, Swiss, caraway, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing) to a chili-cheese dog and versions topped with bacon, or pulled pork, or even mozzarella, pesto, roasted peppers and red onions.
The pork-and-beef blend dogs (as well as bratwursts and kielbasa) come from neighbor Karl Ehmer Quality Meats and the buns from Blue Duck Bakery; these are deeply toasted for the dogs, which start at $4.99 for a relatively straightforward Duke's New Yorker (mustard, sauerkraut and stewed onions) and top out at $7.99; bratwursts start at $8.99, and a roster of sliders at $6.99.
Once Duke's gets its liquor license, beer and wine will flow, as will booze-infused milkshakes (Duke's sells soft serve ice cream). If that's welcome news to Patchogue's wandering bands of late-night revelers, so is this: For now, Duke's is open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and midnight the rest of the week.
Dukes' Dogs is closed on Monday and opens at noon Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 4 p.m. (staying open until 4 p.m.) on Friday and Saturday. It's at 58A South Ocean Ave. There is no phone number or website.