Dat Dog, a New Orleans-based hot dog joint known for its colorful decor and quirky combinations of hot dogs and sausages, plans to open three locations in Baton Rouge.
Dat Dog Enterprises president and COO Bill DiPaola says the company hasn’t selected locations for the restaurants just yet. But a variety of sites are being scouted, he says, including along Burbank and Lee drives, Highland Road, Government Street and the Perkins Road overpass area. The initial restaurant should open by late this year or early next year.
“The market is very tight in Baton Rouge because there’s a lot of good competition,” DiPaola says. “We want to make sure we have the right space, and something that’s crucial to our brand is the ability to get to young people and to reach families.”
The Baton Rouge restaurants will open under Dat Dog’s first wave of franchisees, David Halpern and Teva Sempel. The duo—both New Orleans-based attorneys—will run the restaurants under the franchise group Prime Dog LLC.
DiPaola says Dat Dog is expanding because it has the right people on board, adding its staff is young and diverse, and has just as many women in position of power as men.
Dat Dog serves everything from european sausages to a crawfish étouffée dog (“everything one can do in the shape of the hot dog,” DiPaola says), which will be featured in an upcoming issue of Food Network magazine highlighting vegetarian and vegan options.
Former federal prosecutor Constantine Georges first opened the restaurant in 2011 on Freret Street in New Orleans. Georges is the brother of The Advocate owner and businessman John Georges.
DiPaola says franchisees Halpern and his nephew, Sempel, chose Baton Rouge for the new restaurants because they believe it is a good market to expand and grow in. He adds Dat Dog is also seeking to further expand in the Gulf South region, focusing on Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.