Hot Dogs With Personality - Buddy's Saucy Dogs

March 11, 2015 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

Buddy's Saucy Dogs

If you’re looking for a unique hot dog dining experience, Buddy’s Saucy Dogs is the place to be, and chances are you’ve never encountered anything like it.

The restaurant, located at 5225 Sunset Blvd., had its grand opening this past Friday and celebrated its Greater Lexington Chamber membership with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Owner Jeff Zona, who is prepared to recreate the hot dog restaurant business, also showed his intentions to have an immediate positive impact on the community, presenting $1,000 checks to both Pawmetto Lifeline and Pets Inc.

Zona said being able to give back to the community is one of the most gratifying parts of the job. Buddy’s Saucy Dogs will also be giving 1% of sales to the local animal rescue shelters, starting with Pets Inc. and Pawmetto Lifeline.

“As our sales grow, so will our contributions,” Zona said. “We all can give back to the community for the blessings that are bestowed on us.”

One such blessing was a rescue dog named Buddy, who came into the Zona family years ago. Turns out Buddy became the inspiration behind Buddy’s Saucy Dogs, whose slogan is “Hot Dogs With Personality.”

The personalities can be found on the menu, which includes 18 different hot dogs to choose from. The hot dogs will be healthier than the “average” dog with half the calories, one-third the grams of fat, and 33% less sodium than many of the name brands purchased in supermarkets, according to Zona.

“We will serve a healthy hot dog, available in beef, turkey, or veggie,” he said of the Applegate Farms products. “Our hot dogs have no fillers, no MSG, no artificial ingredients, not antibiotics, no nitrates, no preservatives and are gluten free.”

The actual eating experience will be equally unique, especially if you dine in the restaurant.

“The eating experience will be truly centered around dogs,” Zona said. “If you choose to eat in our place, you will be served in a dog dish, and sit in a kennel which will be a table filled with a collage of pictures of a favorite breed. If you choose to go through the drive thru and take it home, you will be driving through the ‘Dog Run.’”

Customers are also encouraged to bring in their favorite pictures of their dog. The inside of the restaurant will be decorated with these photos, which must be 8x10. Buddy’s Saucy Dogs will provide the frames and hang the pictures on the wall of Buddy’s Friends.

Proverbs 12:10 - “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal,” will also adorn the restaurant walls. Buddy’s will be closed on Sundays to allow associates to spend time with their families.

Zona believes they found the perfect spot for the restaurant, which employs 15 people – three full-time and twelve part-time.

“It was all about location, location, location,” he said. “This spot gave us the traffic we needed, with the drive through that is necessary to be successful.”

If Buddy’s Saucy Dogs is as successful as Zona believes it can be, more of the restaurants will be found around the Midlands. Zona hopes to add four more locations in the Columbia market, including the Harbison area, Forest Acres, Sandhills and downtown Columbia.

For more information and a full menu, please visit

According to the website, “Buddy’s Saucy Dogs’ mission is to be America’s favorite place to enjoy a hot dog. Our strategy is to serve a healthy hot dog, with the freshest toppings that relate to dogs throughout the world, in an environment that reminds us of our beloved pets.”