Location: 114 N. Liberty St., Independence, Missouri
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10pm and Sunday from 3 to 8pm.
History: For almost 20 years, entrepreneurs Ken and Cindy McClain have been on a mission to slowly restore Independence Square in Independence, Missouri, back to the busy social center that they remember from childhood. Since opening their first restaurant, Ophelia’s, in 1998, the McClains have been opening restaurants and retail stores in the historic square. Their still-growing empire of 16 businesses includes Polly’s Pop, Clinton’s Soda Fountain, Courthouse Exchange, El Pico Mexican, Square Pizza and Café Verona. The McClains opened their specialty hot dog restaurant, Up Dog, in 2011 in a space decorated in 1950s kitsch, complete with red and white stripes, chrome barstools and a few shiny red booths. They offer a Chicago-style dog “dragged through the garden” and a New York-style dog with mustard and sauerkraut, but it’s the more unusual options that set Up Dog apart from the competition. Try the Rio Dog, which comes smothered with caramelized onions, a popular Brazilian cream cheese, sliced jalapeños and a drizzle of mustard. –J.V.
★ Must-Try: The Breakfast Dog featuring a Klement all-beef Chicago-style dog on a fluffy white bun topped with bacon, egg and Cheddar cheese. Order tater tots on the side to complete the breakfast theme. (Photo by Chris Smith)
Up Dog, 114 N. Liberty St., Independence, Missouri, eatupdog.com