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A&W has brought back the Whistle Dog!

Today I learned what a Whistle Dog was and grew to love it, all in the span of 2 hours.

Tonight we gathered at the historic Rio Theatre in East Vancouver, to learn more about A&W’s only hot dog on menu. A special menu item that after its discontinuation had die hard fans up in arms.

The evening gave brand fans the opportunity to meet and greet A&W mascots: “Root Bear” and their human spokesperson “Allen Wright” (for “A” and “W”).

Allen was very engaging with those that lined up to meet him. He was witty with banter and recalled occasions where he would have met media and fans alike.

And Root Bear was ready for pictures and hugs. We would get both with both, even asking for them to do a jig with us.

Event goers were also able to grab a bag of popcorn and a seat, settling in for the Vancouver premier showing of their “dog-umentary”. This was the story of fans bringing back Canada’s most iconic hot dog to market. It follows a handful Canadians from Western Canada as they recall childhood memories, and why they have an attachment to this speciality item. There was even one such fan from North Vancouver, who was featured in the film and made it to the show tonight.

This light hearted documentary was shown at 42 film festivals, in 15 different countries, across 6 different continents. The Tribeca film festival, in New York, even declared it as the best brand short of 2023.

And to summary its 30 minute storyline, the Whistle Dog is back. All thanks to the persistent campaigning of a handful of die hard Canadian fans. These folks were grassroots, signing petitions, creating soulful raps, and tweeting clever puns; all asking where is the whistle dog and when it will return.

And for all their efforts, starting on May 21st, you can go to any A&W to get your own. But for tonight, our sneak peek of the movie would be followed by a sneak peek taste of the Whistle Dog, after it.

We heard from A&W executives and the marketing team that it was removed from their menu because sales were low and the cost to produce the dogs high. Additional equipment to steam and the need to slice a hot dog length-wise that slowed down all other operations.

But if you take anything away from this documentary, it is that the voices of a few can change the reality for many. And the result today is that the Whistle Dog is back for 2024. After all “what is the A&W Burger Family without a dog?”

This was my first taste of this legendary wiener, so I went in without any expectations. I didn’t have the same pangs of nostalgia that the diehard Whistle Dog Nation-ers had. So trying it as a regular hotdog I can see the appeal. This was a comforting steamy. A steamed hotdog wiener sliced and butterflied. Placed between an eggy bun and topped with melted cheddar cheese, crispy bacon strips, and sweet relish. It was a little on the dry side from my tastes, so I would have liked some mayonnaise, some ketchup for tang, and to have the hotdog seared more and laid flatten on the bread.

Although I suggest taking this with a grain for salt, as the Whistle Dogs we had were pre-made in their kitchens, then brought over in one of their food trucks, kept warm in their heating units. I am sure fresh off the grill would be the ideal experience, and I will have to grab one down the road for the full experience and to see what the Whistler Dog Nation-ers do.

Otherwise, this was a solid hot dog and far more appetizing than the ones you get from street corners or sports stadiums. If I have a craving for a steamy, A&W is where I would look, and you can too starting May 21st, 2024!

1 thought on “A&W has brought back the Whistle Dog!”

  1. The piece highlights A&W’s revival of the Whistle Dog, celebrated at an event in East Vancouver. Attendees engaged with A&W mascots and watched a documentary chronicling fan efforts to bring back the beloved menu item. Despite its initial discontinuation due to low sales and high costs, grassroots campaigning succeeded in its return. The author shares their firsthand tasting experience, praising the comforting flavors of the hotdog while suggesting potential improvements. Overall, the article captures the nostalgia and anticipation surrounding the Whistle Dog’s comeback to A&W’s menu.

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