Dog Haus, SoCal's celebrated gourmet hot dog, sausage, and burger concept, continues its eastward migration by opening five restaurants in the Chicago area with local franchisee and Wicker Park resident Jesse Koontz. Koontz joins 30 other franchisees who are working closely with the Dog Haus leadership team to bring the acclaimed fast casual concept, regarded for its use of premium ingredients and craft approach within the sector, to communities across the country. With this latest announcement, Dog Haus has now committed to opening more than 140 restaurants in states that currently include Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and will subsequently include Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas.
"We were inspired by Jesse's passion and understanding of who we are as a brand, and immediately felt confident that he was the right person to share Dog Haus with the Chicago community," says Partner Quasim Riaz, who cofounded Dog Haus with friends and fellow partners Hagop Giragossian and André Vener in 2010. "We couldn't be more excited to be working with him to bring Dog Haus to this incredible food city."
“In my mind, Chicago is the hot dog capital of the world and a major food mecca that boasts some of the world’s best restaurants. A concept as unique and progressive as Dog Haus deserves to be shared with the city I love—a city whose identity and culture is deeply ingrained in great food,” says Jesse Koontz, a former Marine and foodie who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and fell in love with Dog Haus during a visit to Los Angeles last fall. “People have preconceived ideas of what a hot dog is and how it’s made, but Dog Haus does a phenomenal job of altering those notions with its creative, quality-driven approach ... a commitment that extends to their ‘haus’ sausages and burgers, as well."
Once specific properties have been selected, Koontz will be opening Dog Haus franchise restaurants in Lake View, Lincoln Park, River North, Wicker Park, and the West Loop neighborhoods with the first slated to open in late 2016. Like all Dog Haus restaurants, the focus will be on providing guests with the best possible top-to-bottom experience of eating a classic hot dog, burger and sausage based on the core principles that define the brand and inform its expansion across the country.
Giragossian, Riaz and Vener initially made the decision to franchise Dog Haus in 2013, a decision that precipitated a dramatic period of growth with 18 restaurants now in operation, more than double the number that was open this time last year. Dog Haus' core leadership and culinary teams, including Giragossian, who oversees menu operations, and Würstmacher (sausage-maker) Adam Gertler, work closely with local franchisees to ensure the quality that has made the brand a "haus" name in Southern California is preserved as it crosses state borders. That extends far beyond Dog Haus' signature all beef skinless Haus Dogs, handcrafted Haus Sausages, and premium Haus Burgers made from a proprietary grind, all served on grilled Hawaiian rolls. Their inspired toppings, premium soft-serve ice cream and ambitious craft beer program further push the envelope of what is expected in the upscale fast casual sector.