The widely acclaimed American actor Humphrey Bogart once said, "A hot dog at the game beats roast beef at the Ritz." For those on the hunt for the perfect hot dog and keen on a fast food culinary adventure, visit Oh My Dog (OMD) in Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK).
PIK is a mere 30-minute drive from Jakarta's city center and dubbed the new Kemang, due to the growth of its culinary industry. After exiting the toll gates at PIK, a row of luxurious modern houses await. Their broad boulevards are lined with cafes and restaurants that offer creative menus to tantalize your taste buds.
At first glance, the OMD eatery looks like a mini yellow lorry, with a large crowd of young diners. From the open-kitchen concept, the chefs can be seen dressed casually in their jeans and yellow T-shirts, busy grilling sausages over the hot grill.
Pitarto Lauda, the co-owner of OMD, who first opened the establishment in July 2015, said the idea was to make a hot dog eatery that was "fast, simple and delicious." When asked how the name was chosen, Pitarto explained that he and fellow founders Ramon Wirawan Laimanto and Roger Wirawan were "aiming for something short, fun and catchy."
Pitarto is no stranger to the food and beverage industry, also running Otaru Baumkuchen in Plaza Indonesia and Madam Huang's Authentic Kopitiam Kitchen in Semarang, Central Java.
Pitarto explained that it was a collective decision to open OMD in the PIK area. "We chose PIK because of its very hip culinary zones these days. We've seen many Chinese, Japanese and pizza restaurants at PIK, and yet so far we're the first and only one that serves hot dogs."
Their menu is short and straightforward. The eatery serves classic hot dogs and chili dogs, as well as more innovative variations of hot dogs. Their hot dogs are large and about twice the size of the usual street hot dogs.
Their specialty dish is their Original Crispy Dog, which comes with a choice of a chicken or beef sausage in a bun with spicy or honey sauce. The specialty hot dog also comes with crispy vegetables or french fries on top. The bun is soft and sweet, and the beef tender and succulent.
"Our buns and sauces are homemade," said Roger. "They're freshly made each day."
He said their beef and chicken sausages were also specially made with more meat content. "That's why our sausages are thicker and juicier," he said.
For those on a pescatarian diet, the eatery also offers a seafood dog which comes with a shrimp cocktail. "The idea for the [seafood dog] came when a group of friends ordered hot dogs," Pitarto said. "One of their friends didn't eat meat and just sat there while his friends were busy eating."
Other interesting offerings on their menu include their Asian-style hot dogs, such as the Kimchi Dog and Curry Dog.
OMD also has plans to put friend Mars bars on its menu in the near future. "We'll be the first restaurant in Jakarta that serves them," Pitarto said.
The trio revealed that their investment of Rp 1.8 billion ($127,000) was a worthwhile decision. According to Roger, the restaurant has been selling between 70 and 100 hot dogs per day since it opened its doors. "That's why we're optimistic that we'll reach the break-even point in six months."
However, given the current economic situation in Indonesia, many are hesitant to embark on a new business venture in these trying times; but that is not the case for Pitarto, who believes, "no matter what the [economic] situation is, people still [have to] eat [...] it doesn't really affect the culinary businesses." The restaurateur did, however, concede that spending power wasn't as good as it used to be.
"After the economic storm in 2015, we believe that things are going to improve much next year," said Pitarto, who is not an economist, adding that they planned to set up food trucks all around Jakarta.
When asked on advice for up-and-coming food and beverage entrepreneurs, Pitarto suggested "creating something unique, which is not already in the market, being the pioneer and setting benchmarks against competitors."
Oh My Dog Bukit Golf Mediterania, Rukan Garden House Blok B No. 008, Pantai Indah Kapuk, North Jakarta Open weekdays from 3 p.m. to midnight and weekends from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Prices start at Rp 25,000 for hot dogs and Rp 8,000 for drinks