by Ian McNulty
Dat Dog has moved into new digs just across the street from its former address, transforming a once-rundown service station into what now looks like a hot dog beer garden.
This new location made its debut on Saturday during the Freret Festival and was jammed with customers who queued up for its various hot dogs, sausages and fries.
Dat Dog first opened early in 2011. It was one of a slew of new eateries to emerge on Freret that year and firmly establish the historic but long-neglected commercial corridor as a new restaurant row.
The place was a hit from the very start, and it soon became clear that the tiny, hole-in-a-wall storefront that proprietors Skip Murray and Constantine Georges had chosen was too small for the popular response. Just a handful of people could eat inside the building, with others vying for a few sidewalk tables when the weather cooperated.
You enter the new Dat Dog through a roll-up garage door to find a much larger and more comfortable dining area, though the majority of the seating is still outside at a profusion of umbrella-topped tables. Now there’s also a bar serving draft beer, house-made sodas and wines, bringing up the question of whether kielbasa calls for white or red.
Even before the renovation was complete, Dat Dog was using the parking lot of the old service station as its overflow outdoor seating area. NOLA Pie Guy – a.k.a. Nathan Winner – also set up shop there, selling pies, crepes and waffles from a walk-up stand on the weekends. He's still there now that Dat Dog has opened, running his own enterprise just outside the restaurant Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
5030 Freret St., 899-6883