Growing up, Brandon Dixon was fascinated learning about the lives of 1920s mobsters and watching the classic mobster movies and series like “The Godfather” and “The Sopranos.”
Marrying his love for movies and food, Dixon opened Dog Fathers, a mobster-themed food truck serving up a wide variety of hand-crafted hot dogs.
“I’m a foodie and hot dog fanatic and there hasn’t been another hot dog joint here in Kansas City for years,” Dixon said.
Dixon and his wife Tiara Taylor Dixon own Smaxx and Velvet Freeze Daiquiris located at 1827 Vine and opened Dog Fathers together in June this year. The Dog Fathers food truck began business on 18th and Vine and recently moved to 87th and Blue Ridge Rd. It is open Tuesday through Saturday noon to 6 p.m.
The two came up with 20 different hot dogs, some named after mobsters, including their “Seldom Seen” hotdog that is topped with bacon, an over-easy egg, lettuce, tomato and cheese.
Ivory “Seldom Seen” Johnson was a Kansas City longtime Black gambling promoter who was arrested dozens of times for crimes ranging from gambling, murder and fraud. He resided around 27th and Prospect and he frequented the 18th and Vine area.
Johnson’s last prison term was for the 1951 slaying of a witness in a jury tampering case. He was sentenced to life in prison and was paroled in 1966 from the Missouri State Penitentiary at age 83. Johnson died in 1985 at 102 years old and about 10 years later, Harry Belafonte played Johnson in the movie “Kansas City.”
Dixon heard stories about Johnson growing up and knew he had to name a hot dog after him.
Other hotdogs on the menu are named after cities, or people they pay homage to. One of their most popular hotdogs is called the “Michelle Obama,” which has macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried chicken and candied yams on top.
Dog Fathers also serves sandwiches, hamburgers, fries and homemade cannolis from Vocci’s Italian Foods.
The hot dogs at Dog Fathers are loaded with toppings, which was a challenge at the beginning when Dixon was trying to find the perfect bun to hold everything. After almost giving up, he found out M&M bakery at 1721 E. 31st St. could make the perfect bun to hold all their toppings and the bakery now makes all their hot dog buns.
Dixon hopes one day Dog Fathers will become a brick-and-mortar restaurant and envisions it having a line out the door.
“I love to see people enjoying our food,” Dixon said. “Our hot dogs are delicious and memorable.”