Just two years ago, Dat Dog opened as a quirky, colorful hot dog stand in a glorified shed along Freret Street. Today, the business is shaping up to be a New Orleans wiener empire, with a new Magazine Street location (3336 Magazine St., phone n.a.; www.datdognola.com) now open to join the greatly expanded Freret Street one (5030 Freret St., 504-899-6883). A third restaurant is planned for a busy block of Frenchmen Street later this year, and there's a Dat Dog mobile unit.
While the growth has been rapid, the Dat Dog mojo didn't materialize out of thin air. Owners Skip Murray and Constantine Georges were high school classmates who came at the business from different directions. While living in London, Murray started the Real American Hot Dog Company UK to introduce Brits to ballpark-style franks. After Hurricane Katrina, he returned to New Orleans and reconnected with Georges. A member of one of the area's wealthiest families (Georges Enterprises, the family business, owns companies across the South), Georges was retired from his career as a federal prosecutor. He and Murray decided to give hot dogs a go in their hometown, and people have been lining up ever since.
The newest Dat Dog serves the same menu as the original: hot dogs and sausages with extravagant toppings and cheese fries by the boatload. The design is similar too, with a Crayola-bright color scheme, a full bar and an outdoor patio.
The Dat Dog pack plans to build a two-story restaurant at 601 Frenchmen Street, a narrow and long-vacant lot next to the Apple Barrel Bar. Work is expected to begin this summer, with a possible opening by the end of the year.
Like the Freret Street version, the new Magazine Street Dat Dog serves lunch and dinner daily.