Photo courtesy of Helicon Brewing.

Helicon Brewing has gone to the dogs.

On July 23, Oakdale Borough Council gave Helicon owner Chris Brunetti the go-ahead to serve hot dogs, making the business compliant with state guidelines that require customers to order food along with their draft beer.

Coincidentally, the announcement came on National Hot Dog Day.

The Hebrew National beef franks are $2 each and all proceeds will be donated to the Oakdale Hose Company. The fire department is providing the tents for Helicon’s outdoor seating areas, so folks can enjoy a brew outdoors, rain or shine.

Capacity inside the Union Avenue building — which boasts 60 pinball machines — is limited to 10 people.

In addition to supplying kegs to local bars and restaurants, the 15-barrel production brewery relies on the sale of to-go growlers and on-site pint consumption from its nine taps. On weekends, food trucks feeds customers — many of whom are taking a break from hiking the Panhandle Trail.

Brunetti isn’t interested in turning Helicon into a restaurant but wanted to offer something to help him stay afloat during the pandemic.

Once he got the green light from the council, he bought an electric hot dog roller grill, along with a bunch of dogs, buns and basic condiments. The $1,500 investment is a temporary solution to what he anticipates will be a long-term problem.

But, in this dog-eat-dog world, he’s trying to focus on the positive, such as the fact that he’s been able to keep his sole full-time employee on the payroll.

“I’m in a fortunate position thanks to this community,” he says. “We made it through the shutdown. We’ll be OK.”

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.