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Review: “Challengers”
Published April 13, 2024

New Korean hotdog joint serves up melty cheese on a stick in Dinkytown

CrunCheese brings a twist to a traditional fair-food favorite.
Image by Alice Bennett
CrunCheese’s Korean hot dogs from their new location in Dinkytown, captured on Wednesday, April 13.

A new Korean fast food joint is quickly gaining popularity on the University of Minnesota campus.

Founded in 2019, CrunCheese, which opened in Dinkytown in early April is an initially Las Vegas-based hotdog shop that claims to add a Korean twist to the traditional corn dog.

The company name is a descriptor of the product: CrunCheese features deep-fried beef franks breaded in a crispy, cheesy coating. Visitors may choose from a variety of their menu options, which include a cheddar hotdog, a mozzarella hotdog and more. Patrons may customize their hotdog and can choose from a variety of sauces and condiments to top it off.

A line runs out the door of the new CrunCheese restaurant in Dinkytown on Wednesday, April 13. (Alice Bennett)

The Minneapolis location owner Chang Yo said he decided to open a franchise because he enjoys CrunCheese ingredients. Having tried a variety of Korean-style hotdogs, Yo said that for him, the simplicity of the recipes at CrunCheese is key.

“Other locations try to add non-Korean or unconventional toppings like Hot Cheetos,” Yo said. “Here at CrunCheese, our style reflects the authenticity of the original Korean hotdog.”

Like many new restaurants, CrunCheese has attracted impressive crowds during its hours of operation. In its opening days, a packed and long line of patrons waited to try the new hotdog joint in Dinkytown. What’s unique, however, is the community’s enthusiasm over what they say is a hip new spot to satisfy their diverse palates and fair food cravings.

Mankato State University nursing student Emily Vo traveled from Mankato to try the newly opened restaurant. She had been waiting in line for over half an hour when the store closed. Though her night didn’t go quite as planned, Vo expressed how excited she was about CrunCheese.

“I first heard about it when they opened up in Vegas, and since then I’d always wanted to try it,” Vo said.

Shana Wanjohi, a second-year student, said she’s been anticipating the opening for a while. As someone who enjoys Korean cuisine, Wanjohi said it’s important to have restaurants like CrunCheese to bring awareness of different cultural foods to campus.

“I think it’s really cool that we’re getting this exposure to different cultures,” Wanjohi said.

Lisette Horne, a psychology major, said she tried the potato mozzarella hotdog which, according to Yo, is the most popular menu item.

“I really liked what I ordered and thought it was such a cool opportunity to get to try Korean food,” Horne said.

Yo also said current soft-launch hours are 3-10 p.m., but locals can expect the opening time to switch to noon by next week.

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