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Dot's Diner 

Owner Larry Katz and waitress Debbie Brouillette welcome hungry night owls

Edward Hopper's celebrated painting Nighthawks depicts all-night diners as islands of loneliness where misfits go to stay up late. With its bright, inviting environment and friendly staff, Dot's Diner (citywide; www.dotsdiner.com) couldn't be further from this description.

  "I try to recreate for customers as best we can ... an extension of your home," says owner and CEO Larry Katz. "We're happy if you sit here for 15 minutes, and we're happy if you sit here all day."

  A Jefferson Parish mainstay for more than a decade, Dot's Diner built its reputation on generous portions, a homey atmosphere and a menu of American classics that recalls Katz's Cleveland childhood.

  "We're going to serve the same basic comfort foods that people have been eating at diners for 50 years," Katz says. "What we're going to try is to ... make it just a little better than what they're used to, and hopefully a lot better than what they were expecting."

  At the restaurant's seven New Orleans-area locations, Katz uses top-quality ingredients to redefine diner staples, while experimenting with new items to round out the selection. Upcoming menu additions include a breakfast burrito, barbecue chicken and pork chops, as well as the permanent inclusion of the "Who Dot" burger, featuring "Deuce" slices of bacon and cheddar "Brees."

  Katz says the ability to be creative is something he cherishes most about his business. "We paint with food, not with a brush," he says.

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