Food & Drink

West Belleville hot dog restaurant closes because of sewer smell

The Dog House serves stadium-inspired hot dogs

The Dog House located at West Main and South 20th streets in Belleville will feature major league stadium-inspired hot dogs.
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The Dog House located at West Main and South 20th streets in Belleville will feature major league stadium-inspired hot dogs.

The owner of a west Belleville restaurant said a persistent smell of sewer led to his decision to close down for good.

After six months in business on West Main Street, House of Dogs is shutting down, owner Gary Raymond announced the closure of House of Dogs in a farewell message on Facebook.

“We suffered massive loss of business due to four months of a severe sewer odor,” Raymond wrote. “I want to thank all who have supported us faithfully, it’s been a real pleasure.”

Raymond said in an interview that the odor made him sick and reiterated what he said on social media about the smell driving customers away.

The restaurant opened in August in the former home of the former Nanny Lou’s Kitchen at 1926 W. Main St. Raymond wanted the eatery to become a destination for ballpark franks, sandwiches, salads and pies.

But the odor in the restaurant and issues with his health prevented him from moving forward.

“Doctor said my stress level is doing severe damage to my on going liver disease,” Raymond wrote Jan. 24.

An original version of this article posted online on Feb. 6. The building’s owner, who wasn’t initially mentioned, has since disputed Raymond’s sewer claim. Mike Buettner said he addressed the issue when it was first brought to him four months ago, but that it took time to find the source of the smell – a broken sewer pipe.

“I had plumbers out there several times,” Buentter said. “They couldn’t find an issue”

Buettner said the problem was fixed and the odor is gone. The building is currently for sale.

Raymond has nearly 15 years of experience in running restaurants in Belleville and about 35 years overall.

Before arriving in Belleville, he was a chef in resort hotels in Mackinaw City, Mich.

Reporter Mike Koziatek contributed to this report.
Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.
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