by Ian McNulty
Just two years ago, Dat Dog opened as a quirky, colorful little hot dog stand in a glorified shed along Freret Street, when the identity of that Uptown stretch as restaurant hot spot was still just emerging.
Today, the business is shaping up to be a New Orleans wiener empire, with a new Magazine Street edition (3336 Magazine St.) of Dat Dog now open to join the greatly expanded Freret Street one (5030 Freret St.). A third restaurant is planned for a busy block of Frenchmen Street later this year and there’s even a Dat Dog mobile unit, a hot dog cart for festivals and events.
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. Murray had lived for many years in London, where he eventually started the Real American Hot Dog Company UK to introduce Brits to the novelty of ballpark franks. After Katrina he returned home to New Orleans, where he reconnected with Georges. A member of one of the area’s wealthiest families (the family's Georges Enterprises 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 exuberant toppings and cheese fries by the boatload. The set up is similar too, with a Crayola-bright color scheme, a full bar and an outdoor patio.
Next up, the Dat Dog pack plans to build a new 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 for a possible opening by year end.
Like the Freret Street version, the new Magazine Street Dat Dog serves lunch and dinner daily.
5030 Freret St., (504) 899-6883
3336 Magazine St., phone n.a.