Photography by Kathy Tran.

A CORN DOG PAINTED IN GOLD. A funnel cake on fire. Fried corn on a stick. And yes, you can eat it all.

“What if we had a modern corn dog concept, modern funnel cake concept, and we just really elevate everything about it?” says Jace Fletcher, co-founder of CornDog with No Name.

So they did, and it’s working.

CornDog with No Name, the self-proclaimed “purveyors of fine stick food,” recently opened their second Dallas location at 6030 Luther near Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Preston Center. The tale of the business hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, though. The beginning was plagued by both the pandemic and dramatic legal issues.

Mother-daughter duo Vickie (Vic) and Jace Fletcher are of Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs family origin, the famous State Fair of Texas staple. After Skip Fletcher, Jace’s grandfather and then-owner of Fletcher’s, died in 2017, Vic and Jace wanted to open their own corn dog business under the name Fletch, Jace’s nickname since birth.

Jace says they met with GG Fletcher, Skip’s wife and the new owner of Fletcher’s, about the proposition. Jace has told other publications that she understood she had GG’s blessing. But when Jace went to open her restaurant, GG filed an injunction to stop Jace from using the name Fletch in business.

Lawsuits and counter lawsuits followed, delaying Vic and Jace’s business from opening. Last year, after getting permission from a judge, Vic and Jace opened without a name.

Vic and Jace were serving corn dogs with “No Name” signs plastered over the originals.

“I could no longer use the original name, so I let the community vote,” Jace says. “Everyone loved ‘CornDog with No Name,’ so it stuck.”

The two sides recently settled, dropping all lawsuits and agreeing not to comment further.

Now, Vic and Jace say they’re trying to put the whole thing behind them. Vic helped oversee the sale of millions of corn dogs at the State Fair for more than 30 years and has been involved in catering and events throughout her career. Jace worked in finance previously and sees herself as the creative force.

When establishing their own restaurant, Vic and Jace say they are focusing on product quality, starting with ingredients. They use pure peanut oil, all-beef franks and no preservatives in the mix, and Jace says that is part of what elevates the food. A sign hanging on the wall reads: “The secret ingredient is always love.” Jace points to it laughing.

“The secret ingredient is always love, but really, the secret ingredient is peanut oil,” she says.

The two follow the wisdom of Jace’s great-grandfather Neil Fletcher, who was one of the original founders of Fletcher’s and who is credited with inventing the corn dog in the 1940s.

“‘Corn dogs are simple, but they ain’t easy.’ That’s what my great-grandfather said, and it’s so true. You can really mess things up,” Jace says.

To maintain simplicity, the corn dog batter only has seven ingredients: wheat flour, corn flour, milk, eggs, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Once the basics were down, Vic and Jace got creative. The menu features an array of fried foods, from jalapeño- and cheddar-infused sausages to a frank enveloped in a dill pickle, along with fried corn, deluxe funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos.

“This year has been a breakthrough. We’ve gone from a classic corn dog with a hot dog in the middle, to now we’re rolling it in bacon and we’re painting on the 24-karat gold, and we’re layering in the poblano peppers,” Jace says.

That mix of classic recipes with a modern spin comes through in the place’s ambiance too. The space is stylish with a distinct modern black-and-white theme. A “Step Right Up” sign hangs over the cash register, and pictures of classic Texas venues line the side wall. Caricatures of Vic and Jace, and renderings of corn dogs from local artists pop out. Reggae is playing and a couch sits next to a table set up with games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Pick Up Stix and Jenga.

“We wanted the vibe to be very vintage fair and local, but personal, but also a little side of freak,” Jace says.

She points to a photo of white cowboy boots, and then to an antique-style painting of her in a Wild West costume.

“I’m known for my white cowboy boots. Also, we did when I was 18 the old-timey photo booths where you like hold the revolvers and guns and stuff. I found a local artist, and she replaced the revolver with a bouquet of corn dogs.”

Once the pandemic hit in full force, Vic and Jace had no intention of opening a second location until restrictions were lifted. They already had a catering van and survived because they were able to work birthday parties and pop-ups. But when business struggled in the original location, Vic and Jace kept an eye out.

“When this opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t pass it up,” Jace says.

Now, the original location, 10220 Technology Blvd., serves as the main frying center for events, and Preston Center is the main dine-in location.

In addition to doing pop-ups, the range and use of Jace’s prized catering van allows CornDog with No Name to help the community when disaster strikes.

“We did our first emergency meal program when the tornado hit last year. We drove to Walnut Hill, parked and fed first responders all day and residents whose homes had been completely torn apart,” Jace says.

The restaurant operates on a generator, so even if there is an electrical outage, CornDog with No Name can fry batches of food to feed hundreds. Jace estimates they fed close to 500 people after the tornado ripped through North Dallas.

Jace credits thinking of corn dogs as more than just a business to her grandfather. Reminded of his influence, she says she became inspired to start her business at his funeral.

“I was delivering the eulogy at my granddad’s funeral, and I was talking about him and his legacy, and I was imagining his boots walking down the middle of all of these hundreds of people,” she says.

“I just had this, like a truck hit me. I was like, ‘Oh. Oh, this is my future. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do it and wear the boots proudly.’”