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Riley’s Hot Dog and Burger Gourmet in New Britain

Tucked down a side street in downtown Hard Hittin’ (New Britain), Riley’s Hot Dog and Burger Gourmet is turning out some of the most creative dogs and burgers around. From the Nacho Poppa Dog to wild creations brimming with mac ‘n cheese, you’ll find combinations you never dreamed of. But this little “mom and pop” shop isn’t run by a husband and wife team. Rick Charamut and Deb Dalena are two friends, now business partners, who once worked together in a sign shop. “We both kind of needed a change of pace,” Rick says.

“We had no restaurant experience whatsoever. Ever. Ever!” Deb admits with a laugh. “We’re freaks of nature. One of my sons says, Somehow they got their stuff together and opened a restaurant that works.” Well, he’s right—they did, and it absolutely does!

It started as a hot dog cart while Deb and Rick were still working at their previous job. Roughly two years later, with help from friends and family, this casual, hip spot came to life.

Now let’s get to what’s inside—Martin Rosol’s hot dogs and one-third lb. burgers, char-grilled to bring that outdoor picnic flavor straight to your plate. The Nacho Poppa Dog dresses up the Jalapeno Popper Dog to make it taste just like nachos—with raw onions, more bacon, Fritos and cheddar cheese, popped under the broiler to get it all melty, then a generous drizzle of cool sour cream and a sprinkling of scallions. Hot diggity!

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Harlan Publick in South Norwalk as added a few new items to its menu!  Learn more here.

Hope Simmons