A Hot Dog on the Go? Heck Ya!

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A new gourmet hot dog drive-thru is grabbing the attention of neighbors and motorists as they make their way along U.S. Route 422 on the city’s East Side.

Heck Ya!, at 1680 McCartney Road, opened its doors in January and is attracting more traffic each day, says its owner, Bill West. “We’re busier and busier every day,” he says. “The response from the neighborhood has been amazing. I have people coming in here just thanking me profusely.”

What makes the hot dog drive-thru stand out among all other buildings along the corridor is that it’s manufactured from used shipping containers and painted in an eye-catching checkered, maroon and gold design.

The narrow shipping container has two service windows. Those headed east along the thoroughfare use the westbound entrance; those driving west use the eastbound entrance, enabling a smooth flow of traffic.

Bill West is the owner of Heck Ya!, located at 1680 McCartney Road.

“We can handle a lot of cars coming in,” West said.

Among the items on Heck Ya!’s menu is the Filly Dog, West said. “Most would call it a chili dog, but it’s my mother’s recipe, and her nickname was Filly.” There are also sauerkraut dogs, a jalapeno coleslaw dog, chili and cheese fries and others. 

West said he’s not sure how he arrived at the concept of using repurposed shipping containers to house the business. However, the idea to build a drive-thru came as he and his family were vacationing in Seattle, where there were drive-thru coffee shops everywhere.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t we have that?’ Originally, I was going to open up a coffee shop across the street,” he said. But the permitting process held that project up and, in the meantime, a new Dunkin’ Donuts had located not far up the street from his initial location. “I decided to pivot,” he said.

West said more than 20,000 motorists use the corridor every day, so he believes the location is perfect.

On Wednesday, West and his family celebrated the hot dog stand’s opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

It’s just the kind of innovative business that this area of the city needs, said Maguerite Douglas, a member of the city’s planning and zoning board and president of the Lincoln Knolls Community Block Watch.

“We certainly appreciate new businesses coming to the East Side,” she said. “We have a lot of property and a lot of infrastructure, and we welcome these businesses.”

The Route 422 corridor is especially prime for new development, she said, since it serves a direct connection into western Pennsylvania and has access to major highway arteries near downtown. “Everything is good on the East Side,” she said.

West said the drive-thru is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Pictured at top: From left, Mai, Yukari, Bill and Rocco West celebrate the opening of Heck Ya!

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.