Tyson May, owner of the restaurant franchise chain Meltwich Food Co., the Waterloo nightclub Erb and Culture and Box Marley Jamaican Kitchen, opened a new restaurant called The Good Dog Co. on the corner of King St. and University Ave. in November of 2020. The Good Dog is in the same food court as Box Marley, and in the same plaza as Meltwich. Hot dogs, pizza, poutine, popcorn and tons of vegan options are just some of the delicious eats you can find there.
“The landlord approached me, he gave me the opportunity. So I decided to capitalize on it with the brand I created years ago, called The Good Dog,” May said.
The concept for The Good Dog was inspired by the food you would get at a baseball game. Think hearty comfort food with tons of toppings, flavour combinations and lots of options.
“I connected it with baseball and [wanted it to be] as light a concept as possible. We just want it to be comfort food, especially for vegans, available late night, every night,” May said.
It’s clear that The Good Dog values integrity and equality in their menu.
“We are just trying to keep pushing the line outward … including more people in our spectrum. When you make fast food, any place that vegans can eat comfortably until 2 a.m., to me that’s a win.”
The Good Dog also plans on moving the menu into being 100 per cent Halal, because it’s important for them to include everyone in on the fun.
Opening a new restaurant in the midst of a global pandemic caused some setbacks for The Good Dog. However, they made the most of it and saw opportunities to succeed despite it all.
“COVID-19 has added its own set of challenges, which are all unprecedented, but we’re all sharing that challenge, and overall I feel very lucky to be able to still sell food that people really enjoy,” May said.
“I’ll be moving The Good Dog into Box Marley as almost a combination of The Good Dog and Box Marley in the same corner,” May said.
He explained that the restaurants have already been helping one another and cooking food with each other.
“At first it was a survival tactic with COVID-19, but now I just realize how efficient it is and how great the food comes out when it’s one group of people working towards the same goal,” he said.
Through lockdowns, it’s become crucial for restaurants to offer takeout and delivery in order to survive.
“With the pandemic, I have to be very selective with where I’m spending my money, and with The Good Dog being a very takeout-friendly business, you can grab your hotdog and keep on walking, like a street vendor almost,” May said.
When asked what May thought of two of his restaurants being in a food court setting, he said, “I think it’s cool, a lot of people call it completition, if you complement each other, sure you compete for raw sales on some level, but overall you’re just bringing people into the plaza and they have options.”
“[The corner of King and University] is the hottest area for food sales, in my opinion, in KW, Cambridge, and Guelph. There’s just no equivalent. So just being there in any fashion is good,” May added.
KW is largely student-based, and with students coming and going all the time, and it’s important for restaurants like The Good Dog to make a good impression right away.
“When I created The Good Dog, it was a great opportunity to establish an initial foothold if you will, and hope that when [the students] go home for the summers they miss it, and they want it, and maybe when a franchise pops up in a city near them, that familiarity will play a key role in that location’s success,” May said.
May was excited to share the news that he was also opening a new restaurant on the corner of King St. and Princess St. called Twenty Pho Seven. The menu will feature Asian cuisine like pho, ramen, rice bowls and hot pot. All available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Twenty Pho Seven will be offering Halal and vegan options as well.
“It is a really neat concept and could do very cool things for the culture and the nightlife in Waterloo,” he said.
Elise writes for the Community Edition and works full time at Bath and Body Works (Conestoga mall location), where she can be seen recommending good smells to those in need with a few dance breaks in between. In her spare time, she loves to snuggle her cat Toast and watch Disney movies. She also makes polymer clay and resin jewelry as her side hustle, Sweet Reverie.