A family-friendly staple in Granville for the last decade will be closing its doors on April 30, but not due to lack of business.
Vinnie and Julie Covino of Granville, owners and operators of What’s Up Dawg’s at 70 Quaker Street, will be transitioning their focus towards their family, as they look to spend time with their grandchildren and do some travelling, something they can’t do with their seven-days-a-week business.
“You’re married to it as long as you’re in it,” Vinnie Covino said. “We’re ready for a change in life.”
With a welcoming patio to eat outside, their famous red-and-white checkered tablecloths on all of the indoor tables and booths, What’s Up Dawg’s is notorious for the collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia flooding the restaurant.
“We’ve had so many comments on that over the years. I started collecting when I was younger, I had quite a few things growing up,” Covino said. “Believe it or not, we get a lot of things from different customers, they come in and say, ‘I got this Coca-Cola salt and pepper shaker, I’m going to bring it in for you!’, and I would always offer them something for it, but then most of the time they would say, ‘no, I want you to have it, it looks like it’s going to go to a good home.’”
While Julie was working hard with the employees in the kitchen rattling off orders topped high with “mom’s meat sauce” and all the toppings you could think of, Vinnie, the technology director at Poultney (Vermont) School District, talked about finding his “niche” in Granville with the famous meal deals.
For $5, you could get the daily special of three hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, onions and the sweet but savory meat sauce.
“Business has been great here since day one,” he said. “If you do it right, and you got that niche and that under $10 and that remember where you come from kind of thing, it works out and it’s obvious.”
The Covinos have put many smiles on a variety of faces throughout the last 10 years, one of their favorite things to do.
Whether it were actors Laurence Fishburn and Jeremy Irons or village Mayor Paul Labas, Covino was proud of his efforts of “trying to give back as much as we can” and show off his cooking skills.
“I frequented that place myself,” Labas said. “I know the Covino family very well from way back, good, hard-working family. It’s sad to see them go… I’m looking to see what could come in there next.”
Covino hinted at the possibility of jarring his “mom’s meat sauce” to be placed on the shelves at supermarkets, but he said he’ll never reveal or sell the secret recipe.
“My mother’s meat sauce recipe, people die for it!” Covino said. “You might see it on the shelves some day.”