Dog on the Move

Oakland’s authentic Kasper’s Sizzling Canine to reopen with new title


When the unique Oakland Kasper’s Sizzling Canine restaurant at 4521 Telegraph Ave. closed its doorways in 2003, proprietor Harry S. Yaglijian by no means imagined that his household enterprise would stay closed for almost 20 years. However after a protracted ending, the historic restaurant is getting a second probability, albeit beneath new possession.   

Final July, Yaglijian bought the decades-old constructing to Emil Peinert, a managing companion at Oakland establishment Kingfish Pub & Café. Since then, Peinert and his enterprise companions have labored tirelessly to re-open and restore the well-known restaurant to its authentic glory, as first reported by Berkeleyside.   

“I’m joyful that one thing is occurring with the constructing,” Yaglijian advised SFGATE. “It’s the one sizzling canine restaurant within the nation that had its personal metropolis block. I used to be hopeful that Emil could be the one who purchased the unique Kasper’s. It was actually reassuring what he did at Kingfish.”

Yaglijian, in fact, is referring to when Peinert and his enterprise companions famously saved Kingfish from demolition again in 2015. The 1922 saloon was uprooted from its earlier house on Claremont Ave. and transferred to Telegraph Ave. It remained intact and unchanged.

“I’m a fan of experiential historical past the place you may really feel the historical past,” Peinert advised SFGATE. “You are feeling the generations that had been there earlier than. [Kasper’s] is a cool a part of Oakland historical past. Lots of our historic structure will get become one thing that it wasn’t. I fear that a lot of [those buildings] will get misplaced to ‘progress.’”

The outside of the Kingfish Pub in Oakland on April 6, 2021.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

After Peinert and his companions bought Kingfish in 2009, Vincent Traverso, companion at Kingfish, advised SFGATE that he and Peinert developed a enterprise relationship with Yaglijian. Traverso mentioned that the concept of reopening Kasper’s has been a longstanding purpose of his and Peinert’s ever since 2009.  

“It was an concept we hatched proper after we have been getting Kingfish,” Traverso mentioned. “We appeared down the street and thought of getting Kasper’s again. It’s a very unspectacular constructing, however all people who walks by stops and appears at it — that’s a part of the enchantment. There’s one thing about it that simply attracts you in. Ultimately, it was an outright buy of the property. We hope to use the method we did at Kingfish and maintain [Kasper’s] the identical.”

Peinert and his staff plan to revive the tiny 490-square-feet construction and maintain Kasper’s as near the unique by repairing the classic neon indicators and sustaining the colour scheme of the facade. When the restaurant opens, he expects that the menu choices will embrace fries, beer, wine and, in fact, sizzling canines. Peinert mentioned that whereas the frankfurters received’t be a precise reproduction of the well-known Kasper’s canine — an all-beef frank on a steamed bun and topped with sliced onions, tomatoes, and relish — he does anticipate promoting sizzling canines that recall to the previous basic.

There may also be one massive change. Regardless of Yaglijian’s want to license the unique Kasper’s title, the restaurant will re-open as Kasper Koojoolian’s — a transfer Peinert mentioned will honor the founding father of Kasper’s Sizzling Canines.

“There are completely different branches of Kasper’s within the Bay Space … and I believe it’s complicated for folks with the ‘Ok’ and ‘C’ [restaurants] so we’re going to open as Kasper Koojoolian’s,” Peinert mentioned. “He was the trunk of that tree, so it appears acceptable to call it after him because the founding father of Kasper’s within the Bay Space.”

Kasper's Hot Dogs owner, Harry Yaglijian, poses inside his restaurant located at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland in 1950.

Kasper’s Sizzling Canines proprietor, Harry Yaglijian, poses inside his restaurant positioned at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland in 1950.


Courtesy of Harry S. Yaglijian

Kasper's Hot Dogs owner, Harry Yaglijian, poses inside his restaurant located at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland in the early 1960s. 

Kasper’s Sizzling Canines proprietor, Harry Yaglijian, poses inside his restaurant positioned at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland within the early Sixties. 


Courtesy of Harry S. Yaglijian

An undated photograph shows the original Kasper's Hot Dogs location at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. 

An undated {photograph} exhibits the unique Kasper’s Sizzling Canines location at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. 


Courtesy of Harry S. Yaglijian

A view of the original Kasper's Hot Dogs location at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland in 1963. 

A view of the unique Kasper’s Sizzling Canines location at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland in 1963. 


Courtesy of Harry S. Yaglijian


Harry Yaglijian, proprietor of the unique Kasper’s Sizzling Canine, is pictured at his restaurant positioned at 4521 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland throughout the Fifties and Sixties. (Photographs courtesy of Harry S. Yaglijian)

Earlier than each Kasper’s Sizzling Canines and the independently owned and operated Caspers Sizzling Canines turned family names, the founders of those companies have been looking for the American dream. Koojoolian discovered himself in Chicago within the early Twenties after he and three cousins narrowly escaped the Armenian genocide. Cash was tight for a few years; the boys took up completely different professions, whereas additionally promoting sizzling canines across the Windy Metropolis to assist make ends meet. However after years of tolerating frigid winters, Koojoolian determined to pack his baggage and head to California. As destiny would have it, Koojoolian’s luck would change for the higher when he ultimately opened Kasper’s Sizzling Canines in Oakland in 1930.

Not lengthy after, Koojoolian’s cousins made their means, one after the other, to California the place they helped run the recent canine enterprise. Years later, when the members of the family determined to separate up, Koojoolian stored his namesake enterprise and his cousin, Stephen Beklian, adopted the title Caspers Sizzling Canines within the late Nineteen Thirties. Ron Dorian, co-owner of Caspers Sizzling Canines and Beklian’s grandson, beforehand defined the rationale behind the matching names.

“They have been making an attempt to determine what to do in regard with the title as a result of Kasper was Kasper, so he ought to have that,” Dorian advised SFGATE. “I believe it was my aunt who talked about that there was a comic book strip known as ‘Toots and Casper,’ and she or he mentioned, ‘Nicely, perhaps you may spell it like they do on the humorous pages.’ And because the legend goes, the 4 of them simply form of laughed and thought it was an awesome concept. That means, they will honor their shared legacy and have two separate corporations going ahead and that is how the title change occurred.”

As Berkeleyside studies, Harry S. Yaglijian’s father, Harry Yaglijian, married Koojoolian’s daughter, Mary, and ultimately joined the household enterprise across the Nineteen Forties. Yaglijian advised SFGATE that his father labored on the 4521 Telegraph Ave. outpost for greater than 50 years, starting across the mid-Nineteen Forties to 1997. That yr, the Yaglijian’s father suffered a stroke that pressured him into retirement. He handed away in 2000.   

Yaglijian began working at Kasper’s in 1980 alongside his father till the early aughts. He ultimately took over the restaurant, however by 2003, he would find yourself making the powerful choice to shut when the town of Oakland urged him to deliver the getting older construction as much as code.

“They wished so many modifications to the within of the constructing that it will have been unrecognizable,” Yaglijian mentioned. “I used to be completely joyful bringing issues as much as security however there was a complete host of issues they required that may have modified the inside. They mainly wished it gutted and completed to their specs versus protecting it historic. That was vital to me. It turned too bureaucratic.”

Reopening Kasper’s wasn’t for lack of making an attempt, Yaglijian mentioned. Regardless of his efforts, he mentioned that he in the end ran out of cash and couldn’t full the repairs. Peinert wasn’t shy to confess that upkeep of the construction has been a problem, however he’s additionally optimistic that his staff could make it occur. With out sharing a definitive opening date, Peinert mentioned that he’s hopeful Kasper’s will open earlier than the tip of 2022.

“I lived on this space for 17 years and it’s going to be nice to have [Kasper’s] a part of the neighborhood once more,” Peinert mentioned.

Yaglijian, who’s now 75, admits that he would have hoped for a distinct final result for the tip of Kasper’s, because it was, in 2003. He needs that the town of Oakland would have been extra useful, however he trusts that Kasper’s is now in good arms.

“I want the brand new homeowners of the constructing properly,” Yaglijian mentioned. “My father was pleasant with all people and was a lot beloved due to that. Many politicians and luminaries … used to go on a regular basis. Everybody within the metropolis beloved the unique Kasper’s — it was a historic place.”



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