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Hi, How Are You? With Matt Hagarty of What’s Up? Hot Dog!

Thursday 05th, October 2017 / 14:22
By Glenn Alderson

Photo by Victoria Black

VANCOUVER – Hastings Sunrise has been a growing at an exciting rate in the last few years and one of the most colourful additions to the Nanaimo/Hastings block has been What’s Up? Hot Dog!, a rock ‘n’ roll hot dog diner that pays homage to the city’s punk rock underground while, at the same time, making the restaurant accessible to everyone in the community with their unique and tasty menu items. This Halloween, the hot dogs are taking a back seat again when the restaurant transforms in to a Bob’s Burgers pop up shop, after the popular animated television series. In past year’s the restaurant has gone above and beyond to recreate a similar vibe to that of the inside of the restaurant on the show, even the employees dress up as the characters on the show. We sat down with Matt Hagarty to talk about his transformation in to Bob and what he’s going to be flipping this Halloween.

Photo by Darrole Palmer

How did the Bob’s Burgers theme come about?
Bob is just kinda generally resigned and defeated and I have always felt that way, I always connected with his character. And then my wife and I opened What’s Up? and I REALLY felt a kinship with Bob. Also, the cosmetic similarities between our shop and Bob’s Burgers made it an obvious choice two years ago when we had to decide what to do for our first Halloween. If I felt connected to Bob before, dressing up as him and working in “Bob’s Burgers” each Halloween has really made the whole thing very confusing and surreal.

Can you tell us a little bit about how past years have gone?
Each year has been bigger than the last. Last year was when it really kicked in and the amount of costumed people who were willing to wait in line for an hour and a half blew us away. It’s really exhausting and super fun. Last year Kristen Schaal tweeted at us, and a couple of the animators from the show actually showed up, which was dope. Lineup central though!

What’s Up Hot Dog has been creating a really cool atmosphere for people to eat fun food for a while now, can you tell me a bit about the time and energy you guys put in to the creation of your whole aesthetic throughout the year?
Our entire philosophy is to be inclusive and not be boring. We take our service and our food quality very seriously and that’s about it. Everything else is whatever we think will be the most fun for ourselves and the customers. We get a lot of “man this feels like walking into another city” when people come in for the first time, and I take that as a very high compliment. Also I’ve been lucky to find staff members that are essentially living cartoons.

Photo by Victoria Black

Who is your favourite character from Bob’s Burgers?
Definitely Bob, because we have the same life. A lot of the situations in the show I’ve actually lived. He loves his family and works hard for them and things go how they go. I connect with that a lot. I even have a one year old, Lemmy, who is kinda off the walls. Like, she likes to take food out of my mouth while I’m trying to eat. I think she’s probably a Louise.

What sort of things are you going to be doing differently this year?
We keep trying to ramp it up each year, so we’re just adding more cosmetic touches this year. Our infamous bling’d out bathroom is going to be converted into a scene from the show, but I’m going to keep exactly what that is secret. I’m not buying a new moustache though. The one I wore last year has been stuck up on the kitchen wall for a year straight, and I plan on donning the exact same one this time around. It’s a trooper.

Can you explain a bit about the menu? Are you only serving Hamburgers?
So in the show there’s a Burger of the Day board in their shop that has a burger special with a pun name. We look at the list of all the ones they’ve used, we pick around six or seven that we have ideas for, and we create a recipe. Burgers and fries only for these four days. There will also be vegan and GF options.

Anything else we might want to know?
We’re giving away the Bob’s Burgers vinyl box set that Sub Pop put out last year. It’s a pretty great package. That’s for best costume. There’ll be other prizes as well. That’s all I got!

Bob’s Burgers takes over What’s Up? Hot Dog! October 28 to 31, 11 a.m. until late every day. For more information visit whatsuphotdog.ca

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