New Orleans’ Dat Dog Announces Franchise Expansion In Baton Rouge
NEW ORLEANS – Since launching its franchising program in January, foodie favorite Dat Dog will open three restaurants in Baton Rouge under its first wave of franchisees, David Halpern and Teva Sempel.
The initial restaurant is scheduled to open late 2017, early 2018.
There are no set locations at this time.
The franchisee group, known as Prime Dog, LLC, will be the first to open a Baton Rouge-based Dat Dog, a customized, creative eatery that gives back to the community, it said. They also have their eyes set on potential future expansion into South Carolina and Texas.
The duo behind Prime Dog, LLC has strong ties to New Orleans, the city in which Dat Dog is headquartered. Native New Orleanian, David Halpern, is a Partner at Kean Miller, LLP in New Orleans and regularly represents regional and national restaurants, bars, franchises and clubs in land use, licensing and general business transactions and contracts. As a member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Halpern has an extensive history of restaurant and other entrepreneurship in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and throughout the country, including partnerships in several of the Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurants, The Blue Crab, Smoothie King and Napa on Providence restaurant among others. Halpern is an undergraduate and law school graduate of Louisiana State University.
Halpern’s nephew and business partner, Teva Sempel, grew up in North Idaho where he developed a passion for food while working in the restaurant industry from dish washer to server. Sempel put his paychecks toward attending law school in New Orleans and now practices law at Schonekas, Evans, McGoey & McEachin, LLC, a New Orleans-based business and commercial litigation firm. Sempel previously lived near the original Dat Dog on Freret Street and has been a super-fan of the restaurant since it opened in a 475-square-foot shack.
“I remember standing in line outside Dat Dog’s shack roughly six years ago waiting for a delicious hot dog. I still eat there every other week,” said Sempel, Prime Dog, LLC’s member/manager. “We are honored and excited to be a part of the growth of this exciting brand. And we can’t think of a better city to expand to than Baton Rouge—where people love great food and a good party!”
Dat Dog, founded by New Orleans native Constantine Georges, 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, and 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.
The first Dat Dog opened in a small space in a post-Hurricane Katrina neighborhood on Feb. 14, 2011. More affectionately referred to as a hot dog stand to remind guests of happy times at a picnic, ball park, concert or vacation, CEO and Founder Constantine Georges wanted to put a smile on his neighbors’ faces. Dat Dog did just that and began expansion in New Orleans. The company currently operates restaurants at:
• 5030 Freret St.
New Orleans, LA 70115
• 3336 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70115
• 601 Frenchmen St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
• Lakeside Mall
3301 Veterans Blvd.
Metairie, LA 70002
“I love Dat Dog like it’s my fourth child,” said Bill DiPaola, president & COO of Dat Dog Enterprises and a certified franchise executive. “We’re happy to be ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’ and to see Dat Dog’s entrepreneurial spirit inspire our neighbors and longtime guests, David and Teva.”
Philanthropic giving and social good are built into Dat Dog’s DNA, reps said. The company regularly hosts fundraising events on- and off-site for causes of all kinds, especially those related to animal welfare, at-risk youth, and education. Dat Dog Baton Rouge will regularly host charitable events and fundraisers, in addition to responding directly to people in need, reps said.
For franchisees, Dat Dog offers 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, reps said. Dat Dog is looking to further expand in the Gulf South region, focusing on Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida panhandle.