After updating the kitchen, Billy Scanlon and Don Schuerger opened the Happy Dog, featuring home cooked meals, milkshakes, coffee, and the “tea of life,” all while presenting the best and most original live and local music.
The diner itself was built in 1948 by John Socotch, and the building remained in the hands of the Socotch’s until 1997. Originally a bar, the neighborhood became “dry” in 1981. Mom Socotch continued to operate as a restaurant/diner from 1980 until her death in the mid 90’s.
Despite a supportive and loyal community, the Happy Dog restaurant closed after about a year. They continued, however, to host live music events as a rented hall. The kitchen was leased to a caterer, who was able to continue to serve natural, home cooked food at many music events.
In 2001, the canine crew began the process of the ballot initiative required to “wet” the address of 5801 Detroit. They began working with Shameless Promotion to open a couple nights a week, again presenting live and local music on stage. Billy and Don knocked on every door in the neighborhood, commercial and residential, putting faces on their plea for support of the initiative. It was obvious to most that a full time restaurant run by responsible people would be a great benefit to the neighborhood.
Support was overwhelming. With the backing of many of the kind people at the Detroit-Shoreway Association, as well as folks at the local block clubs (Bridge Watchers, Bridge Brigade, and the West Clinton block club) the ownership was able to address the concerns of the neighbors head on. And in November of 2002, the issue passed with flying colors.
Finally, after years of patience and hard work, the Happy Dog has returned, bigger, badder, and with a little more teeth. Same great menu. Same excellent live and local music.
Come check it out!
Bands previously at the Happy Dog:
Yonder Mountain String Band, Ray’s Music Exchange, birth, The Larry Keel Experience, Chris Allen Band, David Gans, Sultans of Bing, The Why Store, Mike Inez (bass of Alice In Chains), David Mayfield Band, Gilby Clarke (of Guns ‘N’ Roses, Heart), Chris Speed’s Yeah NO!, Jim Tigue & Eroc Sosinski, Cuong Vu, One Way Rider, Tim Easton, Cliff Starbuck, Jason Uzl and Ethnic Jazz, Schleigho, John Mullins Band, River Junction…
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