Hold off on your end-of-the-summer fanfare, Downtowners, Dat Dog's Lafayette location won't be up and running till the end of the year, according to Chief Operations Officer Bill DiPaola.
We've all been waiting with rapt excitement for the beloved, gourmet frankfurtery to perk up Downtown's northernmost block, since construction at 201 Jefferson St. began earlier this year. Progress has been erratic throughout the year with the demo and remodel job running into a growing list of problems — or opportunities as consummate optimist DiPaola would say — since the New Orleans franchise bought the historic building for $525,000.
"Our biggest problem is that the lovely little building we bought needed more work than we thought," DiPaola told TheIND by phone. "Once you start removing things, you start to realize what things you needed to get done. Not only did we want to make sure it was done right, we wanted it be great."
When DiPaola's team got into the 15,000-square-foot building in January of this year, they began peeling back layers of outdated and obsolete construction in the former Times of Acadiana building, discovering a skeleton of legacy bricks and beams that his designers wanted to work into the overhaul.
"No battle plan withstands contacts with the enemy," DiPalao laughed. He then quoted Mike Tyson. "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
DiPaolo wouldn't specify the issues on hand, but said the list is long enough to justify an opening delayed closer to 2017, rather than the originally anticipated summer opening, as of now incorrectly advertised on the location's door.
Now they're making use of the building's more or less forgotten mezzanine level and expanding the expected size of the adjacent performance venue. DiPaola hemmed about the venue's capacity, but audibly smirked over the phone when he clarified that it would be a "nice size."
Over the past year, the exact direction for the Lafayette Dat Dog outpost has apparently changed. DiPaolo reports that they considered a micro-brewery at one time, though that doesn't appear to be a part of the current plan. They're toying with weekend zydeco brunches that will feature hangover-curing variations on their sausage and frank fare. To be fair, their current menu of exotic dogs and toppings is plenty suited to blanketing last night's indiscretions in a layer of tube meat tranquility. Hollandaise sauce just helps the medicine go down.
DiPaola would not disclose the brunch-time tinkerings, but we'd be hog-tied if a Bratwurst Benedict didn't make the cut.
Dat Dog currently has three locations in the New Orleans area. The Lafayette location will be the company's first outside of the Crescent City.