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Buddha Dog? Thoughts? Death Watch?

I checked out Buddha Dog in the summer with some staff, and it was pretty good, def' different and pretty expensive all things considered. I'm thinking the place doesn't last out the year. I just don't see how they can sell enough hotdogs. I mean, why not sell burgers? Grilled Cheese? Mac 'n Cheese? Why not make it a really modern comfort food place, like is their hot dog that innovative or ground shaking for you to make it out to Roncesvalles to eat it. Plus the feeling of having to eat 4 hotdogs to feel full and realizing that you've just spent $10 on hot dogs. Anybody Else?

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  1. Well, they've got an application up for a liquor licence and that's usually the last refuge of a struggling eatery.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jamesm

      BD is on my TO DO List.

      1. re: jamesm

        Bet they sell local beer only, and for $15.00 a bottle!

      2. I will never understand how they stay in business.

        1. Buddha is from Prince Edward County. The meat is to the best of my knowledge from Prince Edward County, and processed locally by an *artisanal* sausage maker exclusively for Buddah.

          What you are paying for is a trendy, but very well constructed small hot dog, so any comparison to a ball park frank is a bit unfair. Think of them as a gourmet hot dog with corresponding prices.

          The location in PEC was busy when I was there a couple of years ago, and the product excellent.

          To me Roncesvalles is the wrong location where pricing is generally value-oriented. They would be better off closer to downtown, somewhere there is a lot of yuppie, clubland or Now Magazine-reading foot traffic.

          18 Replies
          1. re: Scary Bill

            Buddha Dog is a nice place for parents to take their kids where everyone can get the right size and combo. It isn't a clubland dog nor is it Destination Dog. Face it. Every dog tastes great at 2am. That's not their turf.

            1. re: Scary Bill

              What is the difference between an "artisanal" sausage maker and the guy up near my cottage that makes his own meats? Are we just adding artisanal to a job that otherwise wouldn't be artisanal?

              Also, does anybody else feel the pretension of so many of these Prince Edward County food people? I mean, just calling it "The County" and everything. I understand theres a bunch of good food stuff going on out there, but c'mon.

              Also, I think that it's the butcher, I think his name is Ted, that runs the Buddha Dogs, if I'm not mistaken.

              1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                Boy, picky, picky, picky....

                My choice to use the descriptive "artisanal" , in "quotes", to distinguish their somewhat unique offering from a Schneider's Red Hot. Sorry If I offended you.....

                And another thing-why are the Canadian wine makers using VQA to describe their wine-what the heck doees that mean? I find it rather pretensious myself, and very confusing.

                Oh, for all you critics and "I think" artists, some education


                P.S. I have nothing to do with Buddah Dog, I just think the criticism was unwarranted, and unfounded.

                1. re: Scary Bill

                  Wow I almost felt as though I accidently plagiarized her until I looked back at my old post and realized it was written two months earlier. In any case, I couldn't (obviously) agree with her more. Still it was educational.

                  For Circles Sq:
                  1 : a worker who practices a trade or handicraft : craftsperson
                  2 : one that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods

                  Buddha Dog and many in The County define the definition. Have you been?

                  1. re: Googs

                    Yes. Spent a weekend there in September 06, plan on going back this year in the summer or fall to see the changes.
                    Its a nice trip, many interesting foodie and wine and cider activities, though they had a ways to go in certain respects, noteably that too many wineries brought in Niagara grapes to supplement their low volumes. ( and certain wineries were deceitful in their concealment of this fact) I hope this has changed.

                    I would suggest that visiting PEC sooner rather than later would be better since I fear their efforts to promote and brand "The County" will likely be successful and the place will become more expensive and overrun with bus tours.

                    1. re: Scary Bill

                      Hey Scary, the question was for the critic of The County, not you. Your street cred is well known.

                      I've been to PEC which is why I went leaping to it's defense. It's a project that should be encouraged. The County may be simple branding, but at least it's a good brand.

                      1. re: Googs

                        I think what bugs me is how some people say "The County" the same way that most say "Forrest Hill" or "Rosedale". Also, how it gets used almost as certifying something as being good because its from PEC.

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                            Maybe I'm inferring too much, but it seems circle sq's suggesting "the county" sounds pretentious. If that's the case, I'd have to agree. I hadn't even heard the term "the county" beforehand. No comment on food quality and all that stuff, I'm sure it's all pretty good, but when it starts getting branded, brutal. It'll be a brand for yuppies to feel good about themselves for eating "local and organic".

                            1. re: grandgourmand

                              Exactly, its like people are using "The County" as a coverall for quality. For example, "Try this raspberry jam, it's from the county." As if there is a presumption that everything from the County is phenomenal.

                              1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                It isn't an assumption if you've experienced it. There are a lot of farmers, winemakers, chefs, etc that take great pride in what they do.

                                Please do give Prince Edward County a try. You may very well like it. At least a day or two at Sandbanks Provincial Park is nice even if you're not enthusiastic about the local food & wine.

                                The County is just branding to make the area easier to pitch to vacationers. Prince Edward County may have fallen into hard times without it. I wouldn't get overly occupied by its deeper meanings.

                                1. re: Googs

                                  I know what's going on out there, I used the word presume though, not assume.

                              2. re: grandgourmand

                                I grew up in Picton. PEC has been called 'The County' forever, but was a term used by people from Belleville and Napanee, not Rosedale.
                                For decades 'The County' was about sand dunes, pea canneries, corn on the cob, good cheddar, soft ice cream and field tomatoes as done by the descendants of United Empire Loyalists.

                                Now, in the blink of an eye, it's all about organic boar, wineries with bus parking lots, too many B&Bs and BMWs, crappy service, empty schools and tiny wieners. It's sad.

                                1. re: koknia

                                  So are you with me here or......?

                                  1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                    I'm more or less with you. There is lots of good stuff going on down there, but a bunch of people with no real feel for the place or respect for it's history have co-opted the term for their own means. It probably has become a useless generic.
                                    I'm probably not one to comment on specific products, as I don't try lot of this new stuff. I'm old County.

                    2. re: Scary Bill

                      There's nothing pretentious or confusing about VQA. It's simply an appellation, like those in many parts of the world. You know when you buy a VQA wine, you're getting a wine made with 100% grapes grown in Ontario. Can't get more simple or straightfoward than that.

                      1. re: JamieK

                        And, also, the wine meets (theoretically) a varietal standard. VQA applies also to wines from BC. PEC is one of the four principal VQA regions. There's nothing pretentious about this. It was an industry initiative to raise and standardise the quality of the product.

                        1. re: JamieK

                          I know, I was just being a bit petulent. Lousy week.

                          I have taken a couple of WSET courses so I appreciate the VQA standards.

                  2. Googs' comment is on the money. Buddha Dog knows their market and appeals to it accordingly. It’s a family-friendly establishment with great atmosphere, and it’s a nice contribution to the Roncesvalles facelift.

                    I’m sure the liquor license is to allow their many adult patrons an option other than lemonade and water to accompany their dogs. I do not see it as an act of desperation whatsoever, especially since I walk past this restaurant going to and from work and it’s usually very busy – even amidst the gruesome weather we’ve been having. This speaks volumes for any Toronto establishment.

                    Their menu actually does consist of other items above and beyond hotdogs. In fact, you can get a grilled cheese there. They also serve soups and salads. I would oppose them expanding their menu much beyond this. So many places fail because they veer from what they’re good at. Buddha Dog does a mean dog. Why criticize that?

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Beagle

                        They have vegetarian options? Now I'll have to go there to see what all the fuss is about. I guess artisanal soy protein is a lot to hope for. :)

                      2. artisinal , V.Q.A, hotdogs...I needed a good laugh..after the C.T.Syndrome I seem to have acquired from 2 days of shoveling snow.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: coffee_addictt

                          u n me both addictt.

                          Buddha has one thing going for it. Small healthy weiners for kids. Thats it. I feel sorry for their parents if they need to eat along side. Perhaps some over priced artisinal beer will help them thru the experience...

                          1. re: deelicious

                            I live very close to Buddha Dog and walk past several times a week and I can honestly say I've never seen more than three people in there. Often the place is entirely empty except for the employees sitting at the window.

                        2. Folks, please keep this thread on the subject of Buddha Dog or other Prince Edward restaurants. Discussion of the meaning of various words and appellations is off-topic, and further posts along those lines will be deleted. If you wish to have that discussion, please start a new thread on the "Not About Food" board.

                          1. Dropped in this weekend to form my own opinion....

                            My god, they are trying really hard. Really nice gentleman there explaining everything and greeting everyone in a really nice space. But how are they getting such simple basics wrong.
                            Frozen dogs (I saw him pull them out to defrost in the sink) of what seems very good quality meat but only sort warmed in a little panini press. And 15 minutes wait for only two hot dogs is really not acceptable.
                            I see the concept, I see commitment by the owners, good location, great decor, just fix the basics and it will work.

                            1. i have Dined in the buddha dog in Picton and found the product tasty but not satisfying for the pricing . It is more like a tapas or appetizer . I found it funny to base a whole restaurant around this ,instead of making a menu item amoungst other high quailty local ingredients . if it has trouble in Toronto...... imagine 2 months worth of tourist bsiness paying your bills in Picton based on a little hotdog ..... a pretty narrow product offering ( no mater how excellent it is )

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: coffeecup

                                There is now a Buddha Dog in Collingwood. I’d always been curious about BD, but never made the small trek out to Roncesvalles in Toronto to try it. Funny I ended up finally trying it in Collingwood of all places. It was good! I liked it. So, not sure about a death watch. If anything, they seem to be growing, no?

                                Wasn’t aware there was one in Picton, which I discovered seems to be the original! Who knew. There is life outside the GTA. ;)

                                1. re: magic

                                  There's a stand at the Brickworks Saturday market this year too. So I guess it is doing ok.

                                  1. re: magic

                                    I pass the Buddha daily here in Collingwood. I don't know how they stay in business. Never anyone in there. Good dogs and great toppings, neat salads however. The test here for business is the period after Thanksgiving till Boxing day. Most have no idea till then.

                                2. The hot dogs taste great, and you're paying for quality ingredients. The place is called Budda Dog, not Buddha Cafe.

                                  Honestly, I don't get why you'd complain about their business model.

                                  That said, I've been to their Picton location a bunch of times, and have had many great lunches there, whereas I've been the the Roncesvalles one twice, and was fairly unimpressed.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: Dissy

                                    Is there anybody else on here who can say they taste great. I tried them twice when they first opened and thought they were dry and boring. They were short pepperonis on a bun. I thought they were way over-priced due to how many it would take to feel like you ate anything. As well they charged crazy prices for simple toppings. I hated the place and never went back. I have never heard a good thing since and I drive by and never see them busy.

                                    So are there 5 people on here who can say the hot dogs rock? Not because they are all natural with no additives and organically produced from ingredients within X miles of the place. I dont care about that niche for a hot dog!

                                    I just want to know if they have improved the hot dog and made it taste good n juicy?


                                    1. re: deelicious

                                      They are good, juicy, and have great toppings. You're also missing the point on their meat. In addition to the local organic thing, they are made purely from meat; no knobbly bits or dubious organs. I enjoy a good street dog as much as the next person, but I don't think I'd make the mistake of comparing a street dog to what Buddha dog serves.

                                      1. re: Snarf

                                        Well put it that way and the street dog is probably more on trend, "head to tail" and all that... what does Buddha Dog do with all the rest of that organic, premium animal?

                                        1. re: julesrules

                                          Nothing. The butcher who makes them for Buddah does somthing, I expect.

                                        2. re: Snarf

                                          Thanks Snarf. BTW, is your CH name derived from Frans?

                                          I am not missing the pure meat thing. I get that and think a great steak sandwich elsewhere for the same price is much more satisfying. As hot dogs I just found them to be dry and expensive. If I want pure beef there are many, way better, ways to eat it....IMO

                                          1. re: deelicious

                                            Thank you for disagreeing politely. Seems to be becoming rarer on this board.

                                            One of the strengths of Buddha Dog that you might want to retry are the sauces. Variations on chutneys and aiolis that have huge flavour and might become products on their own some day.

                                            1. re: deelicious

                                              No, the name is not derived from Frans. Nor is it a reference to a Thundercats charactor with the same name, which was brought to my attention recently in a South Park episode. It's an old family expression for eating something enthusiastically, possibly onomatopoaeic.

                                              Where is this steak sandwich in the same price range of which you speak?

                                              1. re: Snarf

                                                I've never eaten a Buddha Dog, but assuming one would eat at least 2 (or 3) of them to have a satisfying meal, including the extra costs for toppings and perhaps a side dish, I'd put up the $9.99 ciabatta steak sandwich -- including sauteed onions, fries, salad and fruit -- at ViVetha.

                                                That said, I'd love to try a Buddha dog someday -- the topping options are intriguing.

                                                1. re: Snarf

                                                  Way underprice is Steames in Oshawa, about $1.40 with cabbage on top. The dog is Lester's. A combo with two dogs and Quebec poutine is $7.

                                                  36 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G4S1, CA

                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                    As soon as I can psych myself up for the drive to Oshawa, I'm trying this place. Combined with a take-out run to Buster's around the corner should make for a worthwhile road trip.

                                                  2. re: Snarf

                                                    I like to Snarf down the rare roast beef with wasabi mayo and onions at Zoe's on King West. I don't eat fried food all that often so I opt for the steak sandwich at California on Clinton...with mushrooms, onions and sauce it is extremely tasty and satisfying. I would say it is 50/50 on it being properly tender but even with the few tough bites you may get, the taste is so great! When it comes to hot dogs, I prefer top quality sausages found at the st lawrence market or even a Big Frank (formerly Kwinters). Otherwise give me a burger.

                                                    Buddha is foofoo food in my estimation and not at all addictive...not even slightly. Give me the tasty keilbasa from down the street!


                                          2. I tried Buddha Dog last weekend and i have to say it was probably the worst hot dog i have ever eaten. Tasteless! For a company that thrives on selling hot dogs and specialty sauces it was quite disappointing to find out some of the more popular sauces that were recommended to me they were Out. How can you be out of what makes your business different. Save yourself some money and go by some crappy hot dogs from Giant Tiger, it will still taste better than this place.

                                            Buddha Dog (Picton)
                                            172 Picton Main, Picton, ON K0K2T0, CA

                                            Buddha Dog
                                            163 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L3, CA

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: awristo

                                              The Roncesvalles location is closing on June 30th. The sign in the window says they are going to re-focus their efforts on their Picton location, and participate in a couple of farmers markets (Brickworks and another one).

                                              1. re: craisin

                                                although i am saddened to see another roncy resto close-i'm glad it is this one. hopefully something better will take its place

                                            2. I ate at Buddha Dog in Picton a few summers ago. The hot dog was fine, but I really felt the sides on offer were not what I was looking for. Is it just me, but what I want is french fries and/or onion rings. I think they missed a big opportunity by not offering these; they also missed an opportunity to cash in on the poutine trend. You have to wonder how a burger restaurant would do if it didn't serve fries and rings...

                                              Buddha Dog (Picton)
                                              172 Picton Main, Picton, ON K0K2T0, CA

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Full tummy

                                                It's overpriced but yummy and the kids like it so when we're in the County we usually go there. Plus there's ice cream right around the corner. A bit of a tradition albeit an overly expensive one.

                                              2. i tried to go to the roncesvalles location the other day and the spot was papered over with an "opening soon" advert for some sort of landscape design/garden shop kind of place. anyone know if buddha dog TO has officially bitten the dust or has it just re-located? my family and i quite liked the place although agree with some of the below comments that they could have expanded the menu to their advantage. they also might be better off in a different-- i.e. more foodie-- location. to add to the bad karma, Roncesvalles seems to have fallen victim to the nightmare of unending construction (St. Clair must have passed it on to them), and I feel sorry for all of the merchants and residents of the area as large stretches of it have become inaccessible to all but construction crews.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: six_toast

                                                  They closed a while ago, in Toronto they have a booth every Saturday at the Brickworks farmer's market.

                                                  1. re: bytepusher

                                                    As far as I know their Collingwood location is still operational.

                                                    1. re: magic

                                                      Just went to their Picton location a couple of weeks ago and it was hopping.