Started by Marino Benedetto in 2012 Yeah Dawg creates delicious vegan plant-based hot dogs that are both soy-free and gluten-free. The business was inspired by Benedetto’s work in the restaurant industry and years as a counselor and chef at a homeless shelter. Here Benedetto learned how to teach kids about nutrition and introduced them to healthier alternatives to the American classics they were used to such as hamburgers and mac and cheese.
By 2013 Yeah Dawg was already being tested out at vegan pop-ups in the New York area. Made from beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, sunflower seeds potatoes, and gluten-free flour and herbs, Yeah Dawg’s vegan hot dogs are hand-rolled in gluten-free flour mix and steamed. The steam creates a skin on the hot dog giving it the appearance of sausage with casing.
In the years since its beginning, Yeah Dawg has seen a growing interest in veganism and vegan alternatives to traditional meat dishes. Benedetto cites festivals and pop-ups as great venues to try different recipes and receive instant feedback on Yeah Dawg’s growing list of offerings. This past holiday season Yeah Dawg offered a flavorful Holiday Roast made of chickpeas, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, potato, filled with wild rice, apples, and stuffing. In addition to the Holiday Roast, the company also offers Chixn and Shroomz, Italian Sausage and Peppers and Potato Platters, and Beat Balls for their catering menu.
Yeah Dawg wants to use its growing presence in stores, online, bars, and restaurants to educate people on healthy vegan foods and to make them more accessible. It recently organized a community event, Queering Capitalism, hosting food producers, artists, and herbalists, in hopes of giving a platform to other entrepreneurs in Brooklyn. Committed to its mission of providing healthy food, Yeah Dawg hopes to continue its steady growth in the New York area and open a vegan café/production space in the city.