Looking for a quick and casual bite that won’t break the bank? Want a kid-friendly restaurant where you can drink a beer and watch the game? Have an urge to enjoy the balmy Florida breezes?
Look no further than one of my most beloved Jupiter establishments, the original Dune Dog Cafe on Alternate A1A in Jupiter. Little more than a kitchen in a shack, Dune Dog has been serving up hot dogs and hamburgers since 1994 to locals and tourists alike. P and I love it because we can both eat a satisfying meal and spend less than $20. Parents love it because, after a long day at the beach, they can feed their sandy tribe of children from the “Puppy Menu” while sipping sangria (it’s the best!!), all without worrying about disturbing other diners. With the FEC railroad chugging by just across the street, it’s already noisy.
My earliest memories of Dune Dog are of eating with my father after spending a day on Jupiter Island. JUP Dad works for a small general contractor who built many of the multi-million dollar homes on the island during the 1970s and 1980s. During the summer, when his clients headed north to cooler weather, I sometimes went along while Dad checked on the homes and did minor repairs. My activities for the day usually involved swimming in pools overlooking the intracoastal waterway, building sandcastles on private beaches, or riding around in the rumble seats of vintage cars out for their weekly run. But, the best part of the day was always eating lunch together with Dad at Dune Dog before we headed home.
A recent Sunday after church, P and I decided to stop by Dune Dog with our friends, TK & JK, for a late lunch. Trust me, it’s worth the wait when you climb into your metal-topped picnic table surround by Key West kitsch and brightly painted signs. The “Peace, Love, & Hot Dogs” sign was my favorite… however, I think P was more intrigued by the arrow pointing to the “Topless Beach.” (I’m kidding!!)
Our meal was delicious and did not disappoint.
JK ordered a slab of the barbecue ribs, slathered in Dune Dog’s Bar-B-Q sauce. As promised, they were “fallin’-off-the bone tender!!”
TK was the lone seafoodie and tried the crab cake dinner. There was a generous amount of crab in each cake and the remoulade sauce was just right.
P and I both kept it classic and ordered burgers.
I got the regular burger with a side of fries – my usual. I think Dune Dog has taken a cue from one of my other JUP haunts, Duke’s Lazy Loggerhead Cafe, and seasoned their waffle fries with a paprika spice blend. Deeeeeelicious!
P tackled The Big Kahuna burger, a half-pound of beef smothered with Bar-B-Q sauce and topped with bacon and cheese.
In case you haven’t noticed, P is attracted to meals that are so large, they prove a challenge to eat. (Exhibit A: the “Bill-Dozer” at The Center Street Nook) The Big Kahuna was just his style.
It’s interesting to note that none of us ordered a hot dog, Dune Dog’s claim to fame. In case you were wondering, they do serve 10 varieties of hot dogs, topped with everything from relish and onion (the Dune Dog) to chili, cheese, Dot’s special sauce, and diced onions (Leroy Brown’s Junkyard Dog). They even have Sea Dogs, two crunchy fish fingers on New England hot dog rolls, topped with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
I don’t know if you can bring your dog to Dune Dog but you can certainly bring your “dawgs.” (Okay, I know, enough with the puns. It’s not punny.) Check out their website below for a list of daily specials – P’s had a hankering for Monday night’s Rib O’rama All-You-Can-Eat Baby Back Ribs.
The Original Dune Dog Cafe – 775 North Alternate A1A, Jupiter, Florida – (561) 744.6667