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Two Monmouth ventures keep Hutchinsons' busy

MONMOUTH -- Opening two businesses in Monmouth in a seven-month span may seem erratic to some. Joe and Teresa Hutchinson are having a blast.

Joe Hutchison vacuums sawdust after making a cut while renovating the interior of what will be Funky Bun, a gourmet hot dog shop near the WOU campus in Monmouth.

Photo by Pete Strong

Joe Hutchison vacuums sawdust after making a cut while renovating the interior of what will be Funky Bun, a gourmet hot dog shop near the WOU campus in Monmouth.

March 27, 2013

MONMOUTH -- Opening two businesses in Monmouth in a seven-month span may seem erratic to some. Joe and Teresa Hutchinson are having a blast.

The husband-and-wife team owns Frozation, a frozen yogurt shop at 641 Clay St. E., and is close to unveiling a gourmet hot dog cafe near Western Oregon University.

Funky Bun, at 145 Monmouth Ave. N., will feature Nathan's Famous Beef Dogs and Kobe beef dogs from Snake River Farms. There will also be a vegan option with 95 percent of ingredients locally made in Oregon.

Joe Hutchinson said he's always been an aficionado of gourmet hot dogs and that "we ate a boatload of little sample slices.

"We decided on a Bratwurst type sausage, a New York dog, a Philly dog, a Chicago dog ... all of the good dogs," he said.

Micro-brews, chili-cheese fries, gourmet stuffed pretzels and a nacho bar are among the items that will round out the menu. Eventually, the brave will be able to test their mettle in a hot-dog eating contest, Hutchinson said.

Funky Bun will be located in the former Brooks and Terry's Espresso shop in the Merchant Works building, with the space being remodeled from a long and narrow coffee shop to seating for 30.

Hutchinson said the theme of the shop harkens to spending a lot of time on the East Coast. Funky Bun's interior will be like walking outside in New York City with a fire hydrant, parking meter and even a manhole, he said.

A patio will be used for outside seating during good weather. The Hutchinsons hope to open the week of April 1.

"It's not a joke," Teresa Hutchinson said with a laugh.

Teresa Hutchinson recently retired from WOU's telecommunications office; Joe Hutchinson still works at the university as assistant public safety director.

When they opened Frozation, the couple opted not to locate too close to campus in order to avoid being seen as just a college-centric business.

"It's about the community as a whole," Joe Hutchinson said. "Our demographic is from 5 to 85.

"Teresa works really hard and she has built the majority of Frozation and the friendly atmosphere."

Joe Hutchinson said he had been mulling the idea for the hot dog cafe for a while.

"I'm a firm believer that you either seize the opportunity or you miss the opportunity," he said.

Frozation has hosted a number of local fundraisers. The Hutchinsons said they're planning to do the same with Funky Bun.

"I worry that people may wonder if we do this to be in the limelight, but that's not why we do it," Teresa Hutchinson said.

"Growing up, Joe and I both had challenges throughout our lives and that's why we give back. We're fortunate to be able to do that."

For more information, visit Funky Bun's Facebook page.

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