By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Five years ago, restaurateur Brad Moore and graphic artist Doug Penick were drinking beer when they had an epiphany: A pinewood derby for adults would be a great addition to the downtown entertainment scene.
“We remembered doing it as Boy Scouts,” says Moore, who owns Short Leash Hot Dogs and Rollover Doughnuts. “We rolled it out the first year and we had 35 teams sign up. It just keeps continuing to grow.”
Moore along with Penick are hosting The Pinewood Classic on Saturday, April 21. Kids races are held in the morning, with the adult competition in the evening. Eighty adult and 50 kids teams are set to compete. Admission is free.
“It’s fun to see the cars,” Moore says. “Most of theme are built for design and craftsmanship. A few guys build for speed. It’s just a good thing for adults to participate in. The adults get into it.”
With Short Leash Hot Dogs and Rollover Doughnuts and the pinewood derby, Moore is filling a niche.
“It’s unique and it’s a lot of fun,” he says. “We have people who have participated in it every year. They do it with friends or family. They come and have themes. Now it’s a built-in tradition for a lot of people.”
The Pinewood Classic is just as creative as Moore’s business endeavor.
Short Leash Hot Dogs started as a food truck and side project for Moore, who was in the banking industry, and his wife, Kat, an interior designer. Now the company has expanded to three food trucks and two locations, on Roosevelt Street in Phoenix and at The Biltmore in Phoenix.
Among the most popular dishes is The Bear—peanut butter, smoked Gouda, bacon, barbecue sauce and Cracker Jack for $6.50.
“We created it five years ago for the D-backs; you know, the seventh-inning stretch,” Moore says. “I wanted to do a hot dog with peanuts and Cracker Jack. This is our variation of the seventh-inning stretch.”
Rollover Doughnuts is just as creative. Moore calls his signature dish the spicy Thai coconut—a brioche doughnut, filled with sweet coconut and Thai chili custard, glazed with coconut icing and topped with toasted coconut flakes.
“I tried to do something different—yeast-risen brioche donuts,” Moore says. “I wanted fun flavor combinations. The Thai coconut is one of the most popular. I’m not a huge coconut fan, but once a week I have to have one of those. We also have orange pistachio. My favorite is the blackberry and blueberry jam with lavender sugar on the outside.”
When the Moores started their business, there was no question it was going to go Downtown.
“We live in the Central Phoenix area,” he says. “That’s where we concentrated our efforts with the food truck. When we opened the restaurant, it was natural for us to open it downtown. We had a built-in customer base downtown. Every day is something new. The speed in which things are happening is incredible.”
The Pinewood Classic, Short Leash Hot Dogs and Rollover Doughnuts, 110 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix, 602.795.2193, shortleashhotdogs.com, Saturday, April 21, free. Call for times.