In the front of a hot dog store downtown, several collector guitars sit propped up in stands adding to the feel of the weekly live music.

Downtown Dog, hot dog cafe, hosts weekly music from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

The concerts are free, except once a month on Thursdays when a name act is booked that show costs $10, said store owner Teri Wiser.

“I have a different crowd every night because of the different types of bands I book,” Wiser said.

The act range from country, blues to traditional rock and roll.

The house bands don’t make any money; they play because they want a place to play, Wiser said.

Many of the acts are regroupings of old musicians from around town, such as Bootleg, a Grateful Dead cover band.

Wiser met most of these musicians 12 years before opening Downtown Dog, when she owned Teri’s Town Tavern.

The music has been playing at Downtown Dog ever since she opened the store three years ago.

Twelve house bands rotate to create the ongoing schedule, Wiser said.

To fill gaps in the music lineup, Wiser’s brother will play.

“I try to really diversify,” Wiser said. “If I had it my way, I’d have a different band play every night.”

One of the rotating bands that play is Michael Riley, “He’s an outstanding blues guitarist,” Wiser said.

Another act is Chris Valdez, a classic country musician.

Wiser advertises him as “our own local Merle (Haggard).” Valdez even played with Haggard before.

Sometimes Wiser will take a break from cooking to join the musicians and sing. She also plays ukulele.

“If an audience doesn’t clap for a band, I threaten them with karaoke,” Wiser said. “So they clap.”

Downtown Dog serves a variety of hot dogs including vegetarian options, chips and beer to go along with the music.

By Matt DeBow


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