More gourmet dogs are headed for the region.
On Tuesday, California-based Dog Haus — an elevated hot dog concept that classifies itself as "craft-casual" (its own version of upscale fast-casual) — announced an agreement with American Development Partners, which has sealed the deal for Tampa Bay in terms of haute dogs.
Through the new deal, more than 300 Dog Haus franchises will be constructed over the next seven years in 12 states, including Florida. According to Dog Haus Director of Franchise Development Erik Hartung, 10 of those locations will be spread throughout Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
"We're just beginning the real estate phase of this deal, so we haven't identified any specific locations yet. Those 10 stores should be spread amongst Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater — with room to grow to more if need be," Hartung told CL Wednesday afternoon.
Veteran franchisees with multiunit and multibrand experience will operate Dog Haus's new locations.
Friends and founders André Vener, Hagop Giragossian and Quasim Riaz opened the expanding restaurant brand — which has 21 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah — in 2010. In addition to jazzing up hot dogs and veggie dogs (with toppings that even include mustard!), Dog Haus specializes in sausage and burgers, with a focus on craft beer and ample patio seating.
Menu items include The Pig Lebowski (Polish kielbasa, haus slaw, barbecue sauce, fries), Downtown Dog (smoked bacon-wrapped dog, caramelized onions, pickled peppers, mayo, mustard, ketchup) and Little Mule (white American, cotija cheese, fried egg, pickled jalapeños, chipotle aioli, avocado) — each presented on grilled Hawaiian rolls. There's also premium soft serve and shakes.
Hartung puts it simply: You're gonna wanna hang here.
"We're really fired up about entering the Tampa market," he said. "It's a great fit for us from a demographic standpoint, but also simply because it's growing into such a cool city."