The Dogg Haus on Wells St. closes its doors for good

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Photo by Claire Gallagher

For a decade-and-a-half, the Chicago-style hotdog joint acted as a staple to Marquette’s campus.

After 15 years of good food and memorable experiences, The Dogg Haus on Wells Street has closed its doors.

Due to economic constraints the business experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the owner, Mazen Muna, said it no longer made sense for him to remain open.

“If anything, it wasn’t a decision that I could say was completely on my own, but it was a decision that was somewhat handed to me by COVID and what happened in general with everything that’s going on even up to this point,” Muna said. “Had a pandemic not happened, we would still be there.”

He said he is not happy about having to close down, but he remains optimistic.

“Am I disappointed? Of course. Of course I wish things were different. But at the same time, what can I do about that?” he said.

It all began in 2005 when 25-year-old Muna, a business development manager with no experience in the restaurant business, decided to open a Chicago-style hot dog joint in Milwaukee called The Dogg Haus. 

After leasing a space on Brady Street, he went straight to Milwaukee’s City Hall for some help.

“I walked up to the first clerk and I said ‘I’d like to open a restaurant, and I don’t know what to do or how to do it, can you help me?’” Muna said.

He took notes as they sent him from office to office. He filled out the appropriate paperwork, got all of his licenses in order and started construction. 

He said his reasons for a Chicago-style hot dog restaurant were simple.

“I thought ‘Well, I spent a lot of time in Chicago and Milwaukee has a lack of Chicago-style hot dogs,’” Muna said.

One year after opening his first restaurant, Muna began to notice Marquette students frequently piling up into cars and coming down to Brady Street for a taste of his food.

He said they eventually began asking him to open a new location on campus, especially because a large portion of Marquette students were from Chicago, and missed the Chicago-style hot dogs they had grown up with. 

In response to these requests, Muna opened The Dogg Haus on Wells Street, in September 2006. When it first opened, he said the line was out the door and past Real Chili, the restaurant right next door.

What followed was a decade-and-a-half long experience, during which Muna said he made long-lasting friendships with Marquette students as The Dogg Haus became a landmark on campus.

Amalia Liguori-Coneff, a junior in the College of Communication, said she has been to the Dogg Haus on campus a few times, and said it is about more than just hot dogs.

“I honestly think people go there more for the atmosphere than the food,” Liguori-Coneff said. “It was a fun place to see friends and the workers were all very kind the times I went. A lot of my friends love going and rave about it.”

She said she thinks the Dogg Haus is important to a lot of students at Marquette, which is why some are disappointed to see it go.

“I think a lot of people are sad about it closing because it became a staple of so many of our Marquette experiences,” Liguori-Coneff said.

Ashley Murphy, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she will miss the sense of community at The Dogg Haus.

“My friends and I used to go there on the weekends, which was always a lot of fun,” Murphy said. “It was almost guaranteed that you would run into someone you know at Dogg Haus, so I’m gonna miss the socialization that happened there and I think a lot of people would agree they’re going to miss it as well.”

Akhil Tummala, a junior in the College of Engineering, said the food at The Dogg Haus was great for recovering after a night out.

“I remember trying their Chicago dog and it was like out of the world, you know,” Tummala said. “I used to go there with my friends when we got smashed back at parties and stuff and I would really enjoy it. It kind of would be the hangover food.”

He said going to The Dogg Haus brought him closer to his friends.

“It helped me bond a lot with my friends too, just going out to The Dogg Haus after we got lit, you know,” Tummala said. “It’s kind of sad seeing it go from this uni.”

He said he is sad to know that newer students will not have the opportunity to enjoy The Dogg Haus like he did.

“I obviously want people younger than me coming in freshman year — like next year, this year — I want them to enjoy it the same way I did,” Tummala said. “Go to the same things, do the same things I was doing with my friends, have the same experience. It’s kind of like a tradition, a Marquette tradition, almost.”

Belle Fleming, a first-year in the College of Education, said she never had a chance to go to The Dogg Haus on campus, but she has walked past it several times. Looking forward, she said she is not picky about what will take its place on Wells Street.

“I don’t know. It is kind of a weird corner on campus and I don’t think many people go there, so I don’t know if there’d be anything that would be super beneficial,” Fleming said.

Jack Zidar, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said he frequented the hot dog joint last year and appreciated that it remained open until 2 a.m. He said he has good memories of going to The Dogg Haus late at night and he hopes it is replaced by another restaurant with similar hours.

“I’d like to see them put something there,” Zidar said. “I hope it’s not vacant for too long. Something like, maybe like a late-night fast-food type of deal. Anything that’s really just open late. Something like that.”

Tummala said he thinks it would be funny if it were replaced by a Chipotle, as it would give the Qdoba on campus some competition. He said he also likes the idea of The Dogg Haus being replaced by a multi-ethnic mom-and-pop shop. 

“Because the world’s becoming global, we need this,” Tummala said. “A lot of international students come to Marquette, so I feel like that’d be good for them as well.”

Looking ahead, Muna said he has some hopes for this available space as well.

“I’m also excited to see whatever business comes into that space,” Muna said. “Hopefully they can create the same memories for the students that we did. And hopefully they can make it a success for themselves as well. My hopes is that it is a local brand outside of a national chain and it’s some business that somebody has their heart into.”

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.