Munchies Spotlight: Cluckin’ Dog

A Formidable Korean Force in the Eugene Restaurant Industry

Written by Jess Coronado, Photographed by Alex Hernandez – BIPOC Edition, 2024.

A little over a month since being established in December 2023, Cluckin’ Dog is already making a mark on Eugene foodies. Sitting a block away from the University of Oregon campus, Cluckin’ Dog is a Korean restaurant you can visit after a long day of classes.
Terpene Station is nestled in a nook off River Road, nearby Happy Hour Tavern in this stoner-friendly neighborhood. Through the door is a welcoming environment of thoughtfully curated cannabis. Each customer is greeted by a friendly sales associate fit to address all levels of cannabis experience.

The restaurant is run by siblings Sai Pituk and Veerakarn Suebsang. They welcome every customer with a smile and warmhearted greeting. Stepping inside will have you feeling like you have entered a long-lost family member’s domicile, the cool aunt who plays K-pop. The chilled-out energy is palpable with wooden floors and tables giving the room a rustic feel with contrasting bright pops of red and yellow on the walls and windows.

“I don’t really see it as customer service,” Pituk said. “We honestly treat everybody that comes in here like they’re coming into our home, like family, like one of our kids.”

The OG Korn Dog, a Korean style corndog made with a flour mochi base and stuffed with cheese or a beef hotdog, and the Korean fried chicken doused in angry garlic sauce sit high on the customer favorites list. Another customer favorite is the Bumpy, an all-beef hotdog wrapped in potato cubes with the signature panko-mochi base batter, with cheddar powder dusted on top

The spicy garlic sauce on the Korean fried chicken creates the right amount of spicy, sweet and savory. If the heat is too much to handle, you will find some relief with the chicken-mu, a pickled Korean radish featured on the side.

The Korean corndogs are the highlight of the Cluckin’ Dog. The OG and the Angry corndog covered in Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust are some of the most ordered items on the menu. The presentation and cheese pulls will leave you with a satisfied belly and social-media-worthy pictures for your Instagram feed.

Pituk describes the taste and texture of her corndogs as crunchy, chewy and sweet. “The number one thing about the corndog is the batter and then the protein after,” said Pituk.

Clients familiar with American corndogs will appreciate the Korean twist to the popular American meal. One of the best things about the Cluckin’ Dog is that it offers a chance to try something new for customers who may stay within the confines of their routine palate.

“The food is still Western in a sense, but it has a strong Asian slant,” said Pituk. “It’s very approachable for folks who have not had Asian food at all.”

According to Pituk, she feels she has been welcomed by the more diverse clientele base of Eugene compared to other cities in the state of Oregon.

“In terms of the restaurant and food industry, I feel like it is more minority centric, actually. There are more minorities of my group in the food scene,” Pituk said. “From that perspective, it’s welcoming and familiar because a lot of us are minorities.”

Putik has opened other restaurants in Oregon, most notably her flagship location of the Albany Cluckin’ Dog. “The fun thing is this is like my sixth restaurant I’ve opened in various locations around the country,” Putik said. “What’s fun for me is seeing how the regional tastes change.”

“It makes my heart sing that people are recognizing Asian food. And to take it a step further, they are craving Asian food.” Pituk said. 

Pituk is hoping to make a bigger footprint in the restaurant industry by franchising or opening Cluckin’ Dog locations in southern Washington and Medford, Ore. 

“The American palate has definitely changed within the last 20-25 years: extremely diversified and open to other tastes,” Pituk said. “It’s almost like the American palate is looking for something other than American flavors. Which is great. Cluckin’ Dog would like to come up as a franchise and fill that void. We want to be the next Dave’s Hot Chicken or the next McDonald’s… but Asian.”