Beloved foodie favorite, Dat Dog, is looking to expand its sausage and hot dog empire outside of New Orleans through franchising and additional corporate-owned restaurants this year. Beginning in January, Dat Dog launched its franchising program, seeking experienced restaurant operators who are looking for a customized, creative eatery that gives back to the community.
Dat Dog will also be opening additional corporate-owned restaurants in Lafayette, Louisiana, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The locally owned and operated restaurant first opened in 2011 on New Orleans’ Freret Street, offering upscale sausages, hot dogs, chicken and hamburgers, along with local beer, hand-crafted cocktails, milkshakes, fries and more. Dat Dog has since expanded to four New Orleans locations on Magazine Street, Frenchmen Street, and at Lakeside Mall.
“We’ve learned a lot in the past five years, but what has remained at Dat Dog’s core is our sense of community,” says Constantine Georges, Dat Dog’s founder and CEO. “As we look to expand in the South and beyond, we’re looking for partners who are immersed in their community—and who will continue to make Dat Dog a fun place to work, play and visit.”
Dat Dog uses recipes developed by its Executive Chef, Alex Ventura, as well as craft cocktails developed by its Beverage Director, Alexa Ballard. The restaurant is known for its unique, quirky combinations, with sausages made from crawfish, alligator, duck, in additional to the traditional beef wiener. Dat Dog features more than 30 toppings, including unconventional options like blackberry sauce, guacamole, and crawfish etouffee.
The restaurant also offers vegetarian and vegan sausage options, in addition to the “Greenie Weenie”—a dog wrapped in lettuce instead of a toasted sourdough bun. To keep putting a smile on the faces of its guests, Dat Dog regularly features art markets, trivia nights, fundraisers, Mardi Gras krewe parties, special events and more.
“At Dat Dog, we celebrate the individual and the entrepreneurial spirit. We love improvising with our ‘Chef’s Choice,’ when a guest asks us to create a completely unique dog using ingredients our chefs know will be a perfect combination of flavors,” says Bill DiPaola, president & COO of Dat Dog Enterprises and a Certified Franchise Executive. “At the end of the day, it’s our incredible employees who prepare delicious food and create memorable experiences for our guests.”
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs per year—21 percent of which are eaten at restaurants. Currently, only a handful of hot dog franchises operate in the U.S.
“Hot dogs are the all-American food that are popular no matter the location,” says Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “When you want to eat something that will put a smile on your face, there’s no better choice.”
Opening this spring, Dat Dog Lafayette will feature indoor and outdoor seating and a two-story, live music venue. The restaurant will be located in Lafayette’s historic downtown at 201 Jefferson Street, to be followed by Dat Dog’s Hattiesburg location near the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
For franchisees, Dat Dog will offer flexible concepts for restaurants, including indoor/outdoor dining, areas for live music, biergartens or art markets, endcaps, free-standing buildings, universities, or other retail environments. Dat Dog offers private party space and catering, in addition to The Datmobile—a roving food truck. Fans can find The Datmobile at festivals and events around the Greater New Orleans area. Dat Dog is looking to further expand in the Gulf South region, focusing on Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.