Northgate restaurant closing; lack of parking, aggressive towing blamed
A Northgate restaurant is calling it quits.
Dat Dog, a New Orleans-based restaurant that expanded to Texas, is shutting its doors Wednesday.
The restaurant at First Street and Church Avenue in Northgate said their location in a mixed-use development wasn't a good fit for them.
"We've been here a little over a year. Actually, a year and two or three months," said Bryan Littleton, Dat Dog's director of operations.
"We've got great customers that eat with us often, but we just don't have enough of them, and I think that's reflective of the Northgate area just doesn't have parking," he said.
Littleton said aggressive towing practices at the nearby Coyote Lot also drove customers away.
"If you park in there and you don't pay... their fee, then you'll immediately be towed," he said.
Customers were surprised to hear about the closure.
"Man, I just I really hate that they're having to leave. Man, my favorite thing, I always come. I'm an avid Dat Dog eater. I eat the bacon and cheddar fries," said Gabriel Smith, a regular customer from Bryan.
The nearby Wayside Food Truck Park also closed. Property owner Alex Long said it was also because of parking.
“I’m really disappointed because right here we have Chimy’s. We had the West End Elixir Company. We had the food trailer park. We had Dat dog over here, and this was a nice little corner with all the restaurants," Long said. "And all of a sudden, everybody's gone. The food trucks are gone. West End had to move out. Everybody's saying the same thing, there's just the issue with parking."
City staff said they recently started a comprehensive study of Northgate.
"I think that's great to hear, that at least it's on their radar," responded Long.
Dat Dog said they've seen lots of success at their other locations in Louisiana. The could come back to College Station in the future.
"But if new businesses are going to make the kind of investment that we’ve made, you know, you gotta have parking," said Littleton. "I do believe, if we had this business sitting out on University, out maybe closer to Highway 6 or whatever, we probably wouldn’t have any issues, because our food is outstanding the service has always been good," Littleton said. "Dat Dog may be back, just in a different location."
KBTX also talked to the owners of the Coyote Lot. They said they hate to see a great business close their doors and wish them well. They say that if you park in their lot, you have to pay.
Dat Dog will be opening a new location at Rice Village in Houston early next year.
The College Station location had about 10 employees at the time of closure. Managers tell us they'll look at having some of those employees help with the opening of the new Houston location.