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The former home of Chris’ Hot Dogs in Charleston is being put back into use after years of vacancy.
Local restaurateur Frank Gonzales, who owns Mi Cocina de Amor in the West Side’s Elk City District, is embarking on a new venture: Gonzoburger.
On Tuesday, Gonzales announced on Facebook that the neighborhood’s newest eatery will be housed at 207 Washington St. West, where Chris’ Hot Dogs operated for more than 40 years.
True to its name, the restaurant will specialize in upscale burgers and craft beers — especially those brewed in West Virginia.
“Most of our guests are prepared to pay a little bit more for a more handcrafted experience with their meal,” Gonzales said.
He added that the Elk City district is “a great blank canvas for these types of artsy, foodie venues to pop up.”
With roughly 1,800 square feet of space, Gonzales said he envisions Gonzoburger as a place that hosts live music three or four nights a week.
Since moving to Charleston in 2011 and opening Mi Cocina shortly after, Gonzales said he’s intrigued by the old-world charm the district’s historic buildings offer.
“These buildings have such, such tremendous history that has been left for someone to breathe new life [into],” Gonzales said, adding that Gonzoburger will be “the coolest place in town.”
Gonzales is leasing the space from Dewayne Duncan and Andy Tanner, who bought the building last January.
After searching for a viable tenant to open a new restaurant, the owners recently entered into an agreement with Gonzales.
Those who can remember eating at Chris’ Hot Dogs still will recognize many of the interior’s Art Deco-inspired features when Gonzoburger opens, Gonzales said.
“We’re not going to gut it at all. We’re going to keep the booths intact, with the same floor [and] expose the original tin roof ceiling,” he said. “We want to preserve it as much as we can.”
Like Mi Cocina, which Gonzales owns with his wife, Julia, Gonzoburger also will be a family affair.
His two sons, Michael and Dan, are moving to Charleston from Brooklyn, New York, to help run the restaurant, Gonzales said.
If the space’s build-out runs smoothly, he said, Gonzoburger will open in June or July.
“We’re looking forward to having a huge opening,” Gonzales said.
(Credit to the Charleston Gazette and Staff Writer Elaina Sauber)