There is a bright new lunch spot in downtown. Look for it under the red umbrella outside the Route 66 Mini Market on Birch and San Francisco streets where you will find owner Mick Ohly serving up hot dogs at Mountain Dog.
Opened on June 5 to serve the diverse population and food preferences of Flagstaff residents, Mountain Dog offers high quality Nathan’s brand regular hot dogs and also veggie and gluten-free alternatives. Of course, to accompany the dog of choice, there is an assortment of chips, soda and water.
“There are three tables that are all shaded. It’s really nice. People are happy.”
Ohly, who is also the new owner of the Route 66 Mini Mart, says he added the hot dog stand because a lot of people kept asking about it.
“There used to be one across the street and it closed down,” he said.
So far, he has not advertised the stand, but as word gets around, he is seeing an uptick in this business. “It just added to the overall look of the convenience store to put a hot dog stand outside.”
Ohly bought the mini mart about a year ago. He said he bought the store because he was in the market for a business – not necessarily a mini mart – when the opportunity came up.
“I’m having fun with it,” he said. “It was a great idea with the Route 66 theme, which is a summer time draw mostly for Europeans, but I have also been stocking the shelves for locals.”
The business not only offers hot dogs, but a variety of “grab-and-go” lunches for people who work at the courthouse across the street, the Bank of America and for everyone else who works downtown.
He offers several different types of freshly made sandwiches: Italian subs, burritos and Greek food. There is also an entire shelf at the store reserved for those following gluten-free diets, including some scrumptious gluten-free brownies. And the old-fashioned sodas in glass bottles and popcorn are still available.
“The clientele and the diversity of Flagstaff and their eating habits are amazing,” he said. “People are happy and they are enjoying the products. I also added magazines for all the people who missed the old McGraw’s that use to be here.”
Ohly, 42, has been a resident of Flagstaff about 10 years. He worked summers to finance his studies at Northern Arizona University, first in Alaska as a commercial fisherman and then as a river guide in the summer and in the winter he would groom ski trails.
“I fell in love with the river,” he said.
He also fell in love with his wife, Jenny, also a river guide and a travel nurse. They met in Alaska in 2003 and married in 2005 in Kodiak, Alaska.
The couple did a lot of traveling and outdoor sports, but when daughter Wren arrived in 2009, the couple decided it was time to settle down. Jenny took a nursing position at the hospital in Flagstaff, and Mick continued his work in the outdoors, putting in a total of eight seasons at the Flagstaff Nordic Center.
“Having a child changes your life a little,” he said.
Since they married a little later in life, in their mid-30s, they had gotten most of the travel bug out of their systems and were ready to start a family. But the couple still loves the outdoors. They enjoy mountain biking, boating, camping and running the rapids when they can. During Ohly’s day-to-day life, he spends time running the business.
“I knew it would be hard and time consuming at first,” he said.
Ohly opened the hot dog stand because he wanted to give the people what they wanted.
“It’s been really nice. People are really nice and the cart adds character to the downtown. FBN
Mountain Dog is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Ohly plans to add hours as the business grows.