wild dogs

Benson’s Wild Dogs restaurant was badly damaged by a fire early Friday morning, and the investigation of the cause is underway.

BENSON — Wild Dogs, a popular Benson restaurant, was significantly damaged in a fire early Friday morning.

Owners Scott and Gail Badeker were notified about the fire around 2 a.m. Friday and raced to the restaurant, located at 1020 W. Fourth St., where Benson firefighters were battling the blaze.

“The cause of the fire is still under investigation,” Gail Badeker told the Herald/Review during a phone interview. “The entire front of the building has been destroyed. The damage is so extensive, the building is not salvageable. It’s very disheartening.”

A local favorite eatery, in July 2018 Wild Dogs was recognized by Money magazine as one of the 10 best places in the country for a hot dog.

The restaurant was known for its Vienna all-beef hot dogs, varied menu, friendly service and roadside charm. Diners could choose from more than a dozen types of dogs, along with a variety of sandwiches.

“I’m going to miss this restaurant,” said city of Benson Public Works Director Brad Hamilton. “They had really great food and were very popular among locals and visitors. The restaurant was named as No. 2 in the country by Money magazine for their hot dogs. I hope they decide to rebuild."

The Herald/Review has contacted Benson Fire Department, and information about the fire and investigation will be provided once it’s available.