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Monday, December 11, 2023

Hot dog chain opens Ocala outpost at former Kotobuki location

A hot dog chain whose food truck made frequent stops in Ocala has opened its first brick-and-mortar location in the city.

Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ celebrated its grand opening at 2463 SW 27th Avenue in the Shady Oaks Shopping Center on Saturday, August 5. The new restaurant replaces Kotobuki Japanese Steak House, which ended its 36-year run at the location in early 2022.

As its name suggests, the chain features hot dogs prepared with a wide variety of toppings, as well as multiple barbecue classics.

Hot dogs at Crave Hot Dog & BBQ in Ocala
Hot dogs loaded with toppings (Photo: Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ)

Hot dogs come in single or double portions and include classic styles like chili cheese and Chicago, as well as a few special concoctions.

For those seeking an alternative to hot dogs, the menu also features barbecue options such as smoked brisket, pulled chicken, pulled pork, and ribs.

The restaurant also features a bevy of traditional sides, including baked beans, coleslaw, mac n’ cheese, tater tots, and cornbread, among others.

In addition to food, multiple beers on tap are available, and axe-throwing lanes are set up for those looking for a little entertainment.

Dining room at Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ in Ocala
The new Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ features axe-throwing lanes

“We are eager to serve you even better as we move forward, striving to make each visit to Crave an exceptional experience,” reads a statement from the company posted to social media in the wake of their opening.

During its grand opening, the restaurant gave a free hot dog to its first 100 customers and raffled off three large prizes to those who visited, including a 65″ television.

Founded in 2018, there are currently three other brick-and-mortar Crave restaurants throughout Florida, with five more planned for the state. That includes new locations in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and nearby Lady Lake. The company is working on aggressively expanding throughout the United States, with new locations planned across 20 different states.

Although the brick-and-mortar location in Ocala is the first in the area, Crave has been serving the Ocala area through a food truck for multiple years.

For more information on the restaurant or its menu, visit the Crave website.