Restaurant relishes area expansion | News, Sports, Jobs


Staff Photo / Ron Selak Jr. From left to right, Greg Vojnovic, President / CEO, Hot Dog Shoppe Holdings LLC; Rhonda Lucivjansky, Chief Financial Officer; Zach Weiser, director of operations; Sharon Simmons, General Manager and Former General Manager of Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe in Girard; Annette White, Executive Director, Jib Jab; and Greg Kenyon, business manager, stand by the Jib Jab sign on South State Street in Girard. The company is expanding the brand to Boardman with a new Hot Dog Shoppe on Boardman Canfield Road.

Hot Dog Shoppe’s new owner hopes Boardman’s logo – “A lovely place to call home” – rings true.

In fact, he’s counting on him to expand the brand with a new restaurant – the fourth for the iconic chain that started small 75 years ago in Warren – in the township.

The restaurant planned for the old Denny’s restaurant at 154 Boardman Canfield Road, west of the Market Street intersection, will be the first new Hot Dog Shoppe in the Mahoning Valley in more than half a century. The last to open was Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe in Girard in 1970.

Boardman’s location should be the stepping stone to expanding the Hot Dog Shoppe brand given, its owner said, there really isn’t any major hot dog concept around.

“We want to honor everything that’s here. We think we can share it with other people and will start with Boardman and when we are able to do that our goal is to franchise that ”, Greg Vojnovic, President / CEO of Hot Dog Shoppe Holdings LLC, said.


In March, the company bought restaurants in Warren, Girard and East Liverpool in Columbiana County from the Trevelline and Doverspike families. The brand was founded in 1946 by Paul Trevelline.

In May, Vojnovic hinted that the company was looking to expand. He was working with a commercial real estate company in the Cleveland area to find a location in Youngstown, Boardman or Canfield.

Boardman, Vojnovic said last week, was the No. 1 location requested among customers. Austintown was No. 2.

“We’re trying to do our thing for the people of the Youngstown area,” Vojnovic said. “It’s kind of something unique in this region and it’s special, and we’re just going to try to be very careful with that. We are the stewards of this thing.

Old Denny’s is a 5,200 square foot building. By comparison, Girard is 4,296 square feet; Warren, 2,280 square feet; and East Liverpool, 3,220 square feet, according to the auditor’s offices in the counties of Trumbull and Columbiana.

Meanwhile, the average size of a typical fast food restaurant is around 2,500 square feet, Vojnovic said.

The Boardman location will have dinner seating, drive-thru and a small pavilion that will need to be built. At the end of the drive-thru line, there will be additional space for vehicles to move forward.

“That way we can just get a lot of people through the field more easily because that drive-thru here (Girard) is just a real challenge,” he said. Vojnovic said from his desk in front of Jib Jab. “This was done a long time ago and we will improve that, but will improve this (Boardman) first and one of our hopes we have had a lot of people who have asked us to put a drive-thru in Warren … We would like to do it and we will probably consider doing it next year.

Boardman’s washrooms will be upgraded to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, part of the dining room will be converted into a prep area and the back kitchen will be relocated to make way for drive-thru.

Vojnovic’s opening schedule is late spring or early summer. The planned investment is around $ 2 million. The sale of the property was finalized on Friday, he said.


Despite some knowledge of the Boardman brand, there is still a challenge with familiarity.

“We weren’t part of people’s childhoods and what’s important, when people come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, they go to the Warren Hot Dog Shoppe or the Jib Jab and it’s the same, that will stay the same “, Vojnovic said. “What we want to do is start this in Boardman and let people know they’re going to get the same.”

The three existing restaurants employ around 150 people. The new Boardman site will employ approximately 60 people.

Boardman Trustee Larry Moliterno grew up in Girard and worked in Warren for several years, so he knows Jib Jab and the Warren Restaurant well. He also gets the historic significance of the new store.

“The first Arby’s was at Boardman. The first Handel’s was at Boardman, so we understand what that is like… There is a lot of story here, but I think embracing the Hot Dog Shoppe like we hope to do at Boardman is just another example of the way we try to balance the traditions enjoyed by the community with the new type of service. It is this type of balance that makes the success of a community.

The latest news today and more in your inbox


Comments are closed.