Construction on Baton Rouge’s first Dat Dog location will begin August 1, one of its franchisees said Thursday.
If the process moves swiftly enough, the restaurant—located in the Rouses-anchored Arlington Marketplace, bound by West Lee Drive, Burbank Drive and Ben Hur Road—might open its doors Nov. 1, says franchisee David Halpern.
The New Orleans-based attorney with Kean Miller, along with his nephew Teva Sempel, will run the Baton Rouge restaurant under the franchise group Prime Dog LLC.
“We wanted to be open right after LSU students came back to school, but it wasn’t feasible,” Halpern says. “And we want to make sure we’re an A-plus-plus site.”
In April 2017, Dat Dog Enterprises announced it would open three locations in Baton Rouge, all operated by Halpern and Sempel, who are still in the site selection process for the other two restaurants.
They’re currently scouting out spots in the Perkins Road overpass area and along Government Street in Mid City, the latter of which Halpern notes is experiencing “a significant rebirth.”
He says he hopes to have a second location identified by the time the first restaurant opens in November, with the third selected about six months after that.
“Location is the most critical thing for restaurants,” Halpern says, adding Baton Rouge’s “robust economy, strong student presence and brand awareness” make it an ideal Dat Dog franchise location.
Though a lawyer by trade, Halpern has dabbled in the food industry for some 20 years, partnering in four Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses along the East Coast and investing in several New Orleans restaurants, including The Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar.