Junk food is out, and hot dogs are in. After installing his nightly Junk Food pop-up at Joystick Gamebar last March, it's time for chef Joey Zelinka to move on from the Edgewood Avenue bar's "Kitchen Incubation Program." Taking Junk Food's place is local hot dog favorite Doggy Dogg, which is now serving out of the Joystick kitchen for "the duration of the next year."
Owner James Hammerl says there will be more to the menu than just hot dogs.
"Look for the usual heavy hitters like the 404 (quarter-pound smoked beef dogg, pimento cheese, Dogg sauce, and hot sauce), Zapp's chips, and Ashley Sue's Nutella brownies," Hammerl said in an email to Eater Atlanta. "Not just doggs, we will be operating under the guise "HOTDOGGYRO" and feature other mobile delicacies such as a steak or tofu kebab and late-night-ready Spotted Trotter beef jerky."
In a recent Facebook post, the Joystick team gave a parting salute to Zelinka and his pop-up.
Today we want to acknowledge the enormous culinary talent of chef Joey Zelinka. He is transitioning out of our kitchen this evening after turning out delicious dish after delicious dish. We'll announce what's happening with our kitchen tomorrow, but for now we want to say how grateful we are for the year Chef Joey Z has been here. We look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future.
Joystick has operated its Kitchen Incubation Program with the goal of putting talented chefs on the road to opening their own restaurants. Before Junk Food, Illegal Food made a name for itself out of Joystick, and the team now operates a brick-and-mortar eatery in Virginia-Highland. Doggy Dogg started as a mobile cart, but Hammerl opened a brick-and-mortar in Decatur last June. So it would appear this pop-up isn't part of the incubation.
Update: Joystick owners Johnny Martinez and Brandon Ley gave some more insight on the move in an email to Eater Atlanta.
"Doggy Dogg, already being an established presence in Atlanta, doesn't need incubating per se. Though they will use this opportunity to experiment with some expanded offerings, like the kebabs. Also, as anyone who has ever met James will attest to, if you get a chance to have James, Ed, and the rest of the Doggy Dogg family in your life, you take it."