‘Tis the season for ghosts…and ghost kitchens.
In simple terms, a ghost kitchen is a restaurant without seats, a narrow-focus pivot created to cater to the burgeoning food pickup and delivery business. Ghost kitchens tend to focus on a single, popular item. Recently, KC-style ribs, sandwiches, and other chicken wing riffs have launched out of kitchens in St. Louis, and a smashburger ghost kitchen is on the horizon.
Last month, Dave and Kara Bailey, owners of Baileys’ Restaurants, introduced Wing Ding Dong, a chicken-wing based ghost kitchen concept operating out of Baileys’ Range.
This Thursday, they plan to roll out a new concept: Playing Ketchup, which will feature all-beef “ripper” hot dogs and brats—specifically the Grant’s Farm brat from G&W Meat, prepared in Zwickel, onion, and seasoning.
The name was a snap for the Baileys. “Double entendres are the name of the game in ghost kitchens, apparently,” says Dave, adding that more concepts are in the works as well. “We have no shortage of ideas. Our plan is to keep layering.”
Rippers are deep-fried dogs cooked to the point that they just start to rip open to produce that sought-after snap. Both buns and toppings, including a dozen ketchups and sauces, will be made in the company commissary. The buns are butter-rolled and grilled.
Dogs range from unadorned to piled high. The toppings list is formidable, with such options as white cheddar, blue cheese, kraut, chow chow, salsa, pulled pork, bacon, pickles, sport peppers, caramelized onions, grilled sweet jalapeños, onion raws, tomato, onion, lettuce, ranch, buffalo sauce, chili, mac n cheese, Rooster mayo, cream cheese, and salsa verde.
If that list is overwhelming, then opt for a classic Chicago dog, with telltale neon green relish and sport peppers. Other specialties include the Buffalo Dog (topped with buffalo sauce, blue cheese,