Wienerschnitzel’s architecture may have changed over the last two decades, but according to patrons of the hot dog chain’s new Tempe location, the product hasn’t.
"It’s just as good as it was 30 years ago," said Bill West of Mesa, who used to frequent Wienerschnitzel’s six Valley locations before the last one closed in 1985.
And while the restaurant — with its modern drive-through and stucco exterior — looks more like the neighboring McDonald’s than a traditional Wienerschnitzel (known for its steep, shingled roof), it doesn’t bother West.
"I’m just happy to see these chili dogs again!"
The restaurant, on the southwest corner of McClintock and University drives, is owned by Jim Foster, a former East Valley resident who returned to Tempe after a stint at Wienerschnitzel’s corporate headquarters.
"A couple (of) years ago, a guy built (a Wienerschnitzel) in Glendale," said Foster, 55. "I helped him open it and found he was doing amazing business. People from Apache Junction were driving all the way to Glendale just for hot dogs. So I left the company to become a franchisee myself."
And in the month that Foster’s eatery has been open — serving corn dogs and hot dogs dressed with cheese, chili, sauerkraut and relish — "the response has been great."
"So many people have come in and said, ‘Gosh, we’re glad you’re here. We want our chili dogs.’ "
Folks like Emery Jordan of Tempe, whose lunch on a recent Thursday consisted of two corn dogs, fries and a Tastee Freez shake. (Wienerschnitzel recently acquired Tastee Freez.)
"I’ve had (Wienerschnitzel) in California; I was always hoping they’d open one here. It’s not the healthiest lunch, you know, but it’s so good."
So good, in fact, that Foster has a second location — at Baseline and Gilbert roads in Gilbert — in the works.
"We’re the world’s largest hot dog chain," Foster said. "And we have a unique product — it’s a nice switch from hamburgers and chicken sandwiches."
Where: 804 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
When: Dining room is open from 6 a.m. to midnight daily; drive-through is open 24 hours
Cost: 99 cents to $2.29
Information: (480) 377-2474 or