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Town, mayor relish opening of Haute Dogs


In Purcellville, the dog days of summer officially began July 3.

Buns sat in the shade. Dogs cooled off. Everything was toasty.

Oh, and the hot dogs were fantastic, too.

Purcellville on Saturday celebrated the grand opening of Haute Dogs & Fries on East Main Street, the newest eatery in the town and Purcellville’s latest small business franchise. It was just in time, as July is National Hot Dog Month.

Amid red, white and blue balloons, festive bunting and the lulling sounds of banjos, Pamela Swanson, Haute Dogs & Fries’ co-owner, stirred boiling pots of beef dogs and welcomed customers.

A seven-year Loudoun resident, Swanson said she jumped into the restaurant business after deciding that Purcellville needed “something different” in eatery choices and was encouraged by her father to get something going.

“My dad just said, why doesn’t someone just open a hot dog stand?’” Swanson said. “I thought it would be cool – it’s a great American food and everyone loves them.”

Why hot dogs, rather than more – well, haute cuisine? Swanson’s plan had a tangible value component to it from the start – a sign of what have been some challenging economic times in the past couple of years.

“Especially in today’s economic recession, this is a great value for the dollar,” she said. “People can actually go out and enjoy a meal with the family, without breaking the budget.”

Creating a differentiated and unique product for discerning consumers also played a part in the Haute Dogs & Fries launch. Swanson claims that the quality of the franks she serves up will also make her franchise stand out, as well as using a sliced New England-style bread roll to cradle your dog. Her chef will keep customers guessing, with exotic menu items such as the “Black & Blue” special: corn and black bean relish, topped with blue cheese and diced onions.

“The chef surprises me everyday,” Swanson laughs.

Lenie McCarron made a special trip from Waterford for the opening. Joined by two of her young children – Andrew, age 4, and 4-week-old Ryder – McCarron said she wanted to see a hot dog eating contest, but was also “happy to travel for a good dog.” She said she’s thrilled that the choices of places to eat in Purcellville is expanding, calling out Tropical Smoothie and Anthony’s Pizza as examples.

McCarron’s comments might explain the happy look on Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro’s face, too.

“It’s great for our residents,” Lazaro said. “It’s about supporting locals with good food at reasonable family prices. That’s what people are looking for. They want to support people who put it on the line and open a new business, and who are trying to create new jobs and bring choice to folks out this way.”

Of course, no opening of a hot dog place would be complete without a hot dog eating contest. To the strains of music from a band called Jake and the Burtones, and Ian Fuze, an all-male posse lined up to down some dogs.

After five minutes, a star of sorts was born – two actually, as the contest ended in a tie between Wayne Pampaloni, 44, of Round Hill, and Felice Falzarano, 45, of Purcellville. Each ate nine hot dogs and buns. Wearing faux gold medals around their necks, they smiled and hot-dogged it for the assembled cameras, winners over wieners.


You are all clowns! All the noise around this gaudy restaurant. You don’t even have a real cook and your shakes are real bad. The only good thing is you got beer now and free kids meals. You do it because you’ve seen your not gonna make it without enticing people to come in for something (since they’re tired of your dogs by now).

He is probably spiteful because it was not him who thought of launching it first :). In any case, Jon, Jerry, TeddyBear, and Mr.Obvious, thank you for unintentionally contributing to Haute’s popularity by stirring this discussion and causing controversy. I bet people are intrigued to go & try what this is all about. Your spite will only create more Haute-Lovers, because the fact is a fact - the place IS very pleasant, the owners ARE lovely and highly-experienced, and the tastes&presentation; ARE to die for, as Mr. LEH has written below.

Jerry you are an idiot who can’t spell.  What are you like 12?  Why are you so “hating” on this place?? It’s great. For someone who thinks it is just “OK” you certainly spend quite a bit of time commenting about it.  Something got your attention.  Maybe the “lady”. Maybe you came on to her and she blew you off.  Sound scorned to me. Jealous, Jealous, Jealous.  PS - Get a dictionary and a LIFE.

Er, whatever. Maybe Mr.Obvious wanted to hint the lady’s a little to old for that dress. T Anemil, are you there lawyer or something? I ate there, it’s not that amazing, it’s just ok. And the interior looks more like a nail salon and not an eatery.

Thank you, Pamela. Haute Dogs & Fries is awesome, every aspect of it. Keep going! Best of luck!

Wow, all this attention and conversation over our little “Haute” restaurant.  First off, thank you all for your comments.  Good, bad, indifferent all the same, we certainly made an impression. 

I would like to invite all of you to stop by and try us out.  No we aren’t a “trailer in a parking lot” or a “chuck wagon” at a construction site we are a fun somewhat eclectic little restaurant that serves great hot dogs and fries. And you are correct in stating “it’s just hot dogs, for God’s sake,”.  Fact - American’s consume over 16 billion, that’s right BILLION “just hot dogs” a year.  It is just that, Hot Dogs.  Pretty simple and you must admit, a GREAT idea!  However, we are pretty “Haute” inside our “store front.” 

Keeping it simple was our objective from the beginning.  As I stated in the video, it’s a fun place to come to and bring your family or friends without breaking the budget. I don’t know about all of you but that is pretty important to us in today’s economic state.  I don’t think we need to be “scholars” or write a “thesis” to understand that.  Good food at a good value.  Add a little “Haute” atmosphere and you have us, Haute Dogs & Fries. 

Again, thank you all for your comments and interest. We hope to meet all of you in the near future.  I probably won’t be wearing the “haute” blue dress (meooww, err,woof???????) but I will certainly be there to make you the best “Haute Dog” you ever had!!

Warm regards,
Haute Dogs & Fries

Ha, I don’t think this article targeted scholars, but if your comment was not sarcastic, here is your professional theme: “Successful Entrepreneurship in a Time of Economic Crisis and in a Place with Limited Food Options”... That’s basically what they are doing.

Some scholars can

I vote “Meeooowww”    perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Mr. Obvious, I am not sure if you your comment is meant to be positive or negative, but, deliberately or not, she’s totally in character - not only does she offer haute cuisine (i.e. grande cuisine), but she also has a haute couture looks. If you take a look at the photos on their website, you’ll see they combine those two…

Hey, does anyone else find the owner lady, in the blue dress, to be a little…haute? Meeooowww, er, woof.

Actually, I disagree with you Jerry. I think it’s a great venture *exactly* because it’s the classic American hot dog, yet taken to a whole new level - diversified with great originality and accompanied by yummy side options. The median age of Purcellville’s residents is 34yrs, which means there are a whole lot of young people. As intelligently said in the interview, young people and families will love Haute’s affordability and the creative decoration of the familiar (hot dog) with non-traditional and international accents. Plus, the venue looks gorgeous! Saturation of the market for hot dog, given the population distribution and the close proximity of schools? I doubt it! They’ll rock this town! And probably will go beyond it sooner than you think!

The place is good though a bit overrated! it’s just hot dogs for God’s sake! How long before you saturate the local consumer?! Then what? I dont think theres perspective for much growth here but for now you guys are cool. Good you have a strong support network to start with, such as the mayor and some media. Still, Jon, your too harsh on them.

Hey Jon-
It’s actually a very cool place, if I say so myself.  Allow me to make a suggestion, “go visit the place yourself.”  I’ll even treat you to an “ALL BEEF” hot dog and some of our newly introduced “HAND-CUT” french fries, and you can finish with our signature homemade “HAUTE ICE CREAM SANDWICH”(to die for!!).  Then you can formulate your own opinion, first hand. We look forward to seeing you soon, make sure you introduce yourself!

L.E. Holmes

Johnny. CLEARLY, those images were fantasies in your head. The video shows squat!

It’s adorable inside-check it out!

Clearly Jon didn’t watch the video which shows the storefront in the background.  It’s a great place and the haute dogs are to die for.

Jon, you are right to call this out and I apologize to our readers. Two new photos will be posted here shortly that address your concern. Clearly, I have ample room to improve my reporting skills! Thanks for reading. - Nicholas

So… this place is just a trailer in a parking lot?  Is there a storefront or you just eat out of boiled dog pots on the street? If it is something more than that, I’d like to see some atmosphere described or an image of the place. I can get hot dogs from the chuck wagon at a construction site!

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