Want a Hot Dog on the Go? Heck Ya!

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A gourmet hot dog drive-thru is grabbing the attention of neighbors and motorists as they make their way along U.S. Route 422 on Youngstown’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 and thanking me profusely.”

What makes the hot dog drive-thru stand out among other buildings along the corridor is that it
was built 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. “We can handle a lot of cars coming in,” West says.

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

West says 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 drive-thru coffee shops were everywhere.

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

According to West, more than 20,000 motorists use the corridor every day. So he believes the location is perfect.

West and his family celebrated the grand opening of the business May 1 with a ribbon-cutting hosted by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

It’s the kind of innovative business that this area of the city needs, says 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 says. “We have a lot of property and a lot of infrastructure and we welcome these businesses.”

The Route 422 corridor is prime for new development, Douglas says, since it is a direct connection into western Pennsylvania and has access to major highway arteries near downtown.

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: Mai, Yukari, Bill and Rocco West celebrate the grand opening May 1 of their Heck Ya! hotdog shop.