By Crystal Harrell

The popular Indio establishment Sumo Dog will make its return to the selection of food options at this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Sumo Dog takes the American Classic hot dog and redefines it with Japanese ingredients, inspiration and tradition. It is the brainchild of Jeffrey Lunak, a veteran of “Iron Chef” Morimoto’s Restaurant Group. Sumo Dog explores the combina- tions of the American classic with a heavy nod to the Japanese Izakaya.

Following the success of his widely renowned pop-up, chef / founder Jeffrey Lunak, formerly of “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto’s team, opened his first brick and mortar location in the heart of LA’s historic Koreatown in the iconic Romero’s space. With Lunak’s seasoned culinary pedigree and strategic growth experience, Sumo Dog aims to redefine the American classic hot dog, using Asian-inspired flavors and ingredients to create unique and colorful combinations. The menu at Sumo Dog features traditional hot dogs, sides, and sweet treats elevated by premium ingredients sourced from high quality purveyors and punctuated with bold Asian flavors.

Jeffrey Lunak brings more than 18 years of experience to his role as Founder and President of Sumo Dog. Most recently, Jeffrey was SVP and Chief Culinary Officer of Madison Holdings, where he managed a wide range of responsibilities from concept branding to vendor liaison, chef training and business development.


He has held positions at some of the country’s most reputable restaurants and hotels, including Mandarin Oriental Washington DC, La Quinta Resort and Club (a Waldorf Astoria Collection property) and most notably, as senior corporate chef for “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto.

He was Chef de Cuisine at Morimoto’s first restaurant in Philadelphia, and opening Executive Chef for the highly regarded Morimoto Napa, where he earned three stars from Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, and “Best New Restaurant” from Food & Wine. In his corporate role he was charged with the opening duties for additional locations in Waikiki, Maui, and Mexico City, a well as Research and Development for the project that eventually became Morimoto Asia at Disney World in Orlando.

Lunak also appeared on numerous episodes of “Iron Chef America,” as well as “United Tastes of America” with Jeffrey Saad.

Sumo Dog redefines the classic American hot dog with Japanese ingredients. This is its 15th location in the U.S., but the first of its kind here in the Coachella Valley. It’s the third restaurant to open its doors in The Canopy shopping center. What once was just a pop-up at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is now here to stay.