The Hot Dog’s New Best Friend
An exclusive chat with the creator of Onion Crunch
With grilling season well under way, hot dogs and hamburgers will always remain on the top of everyone’s menu. Rapidly appearing alongside mustard and sauerkraut at hot dog stands in New York and throughout the US is a crispy topping aiming to become the must-have condiment for hamburgers and hot dogs: Onion Crunch. Made with 100% real onions and slightly battered and fried in palm oil, Onion Crunch is a tasty topping that can complement anything from hot dogs and hamburgers to pizza and salads, and more.
Food Republic got a first-hand look into the conception of Onion Crunch from its creator, former financial executive Nick Loeb, who launched the brand a few months back. Loeb had the idea for Onion Crunch years ago, but was recently inspired both by his girlfriend, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, and a near-fatal car accident from which he's still recovering. Onion Crunch, he says, is easing the pain.
How did you find out about the crunchy onion concept and what inspired you to start Onion Crunch?
I found the product in Europe over 30 years ago. I lived there as a little kid and I loved hot dogs. There they served these crispy fried onions on their hot dogs. After I graduated college, I went back to Europe, mostly Sweden and Denmark, and I re-encountered the crispy onions and I loved it. I wanted to bring it back with me by the bushel. When I did that, my friends went crazy for it and now most of my friends won’t even eat their hot dogs without it. So everyone encouraged me to start up a business out of it.
How did you start Onion Crunch?
We’re about three months old, although I started Onion Crunch several years ago; it took us a while to figure out how we could import the product in a price-effective way. It was price-prohibitive about six years ago. Then about a year ago there was some competition in Europe and prices went down, so we started putting a plan together to launch. I had some personal issues and was in a car accident, so that set me back about five months. We finally started Onion Crunch and first came to market at the New York International Restaurant Show, and since then it’s been great. We’ve been doing both retail and food service. Now we have a brand growing with [a deal with] the Sabrett Hot Dog Company, and it can be found wherever they sell their hot dogs and sauerkraut. We can also be found in various markets such as Fairway, Big Y, and 7-Eleven. We’re definitely moving quickly, so Onion Crunch will soon be more accessible to everyone.
Does your girlfriend, Sofia Vergara, help you promote Onion Crunch?
Yeah, definitely! Sofia genuinely loves Onion Crunch. She was one of my major supporters when I started Onion Crunch and pushed me to start it and since then has been a champion for it. She tweets about it once in a while. Sofia also helped me design the girls’ T-shirts for our company and inspired me to create our little onion mascot. The funny thing about Onion Crunch is that I’m not allowed to eat raw onions around her because she hates the smell of them, but she doesn’t mind Onion Crunch at all since it doesn’t stay on your breath. So that’s actually a great tip for guys if your girlfriends don’t want to smell onions on your breath.
What are some other uses for Onion Crunch?
You can literally put Onion Crunch on anything, not just hog dogs. Some have used it for pizza, hamburgers, fajitas, salads, and more. We actually encourage our customers to share with us some the ways that they use Onion Crunch on our website. We are also coming out with other flavors after the New Year. They are still in the testing stages, but some of my favorite flavors that we’re trying out are BBQ, Chipotle, and Parmesan Onion Crunch.