Daddy's Dogs continues rapid Nashville expansion
Like many entrepreneurs before him, Sean Porter started building an empire out of his garage.
Flashback: Weary from years working as a road manager for a slate of touring artists, he decided on a new career centered around another one of his great loves: the hot dog.
- So Porter, known to friends and employees as Big Daddy, launched his company Daddy's Dogs in 2015.
- He prepped the food in his garage and set up a cart at the Music Row roundabout.
On his first day, he sold one measly hot dog.
- Luckily, he stuck to it, because a lot has changed since then.
What's new: Daddy's Dogs recently announced it is adding locations in Madison and The Factory at Franklin.
- The new spots join several other locations, including the flagship in the Nations; satellite kiosks at Nissan Stadium, Geodis Park and Printers Alley; and multiple late-night carts.
- To be a truly great food scene, a city needs to blend high-end James Beard noms with vibrant street food, dive bars and food trucks.
Between the lines: The Madison location of Daddy's Dogs, which is expected to open next year, is unlike the other locations because it will have indoor dining and assemble-as-you-order counter service. (Think Chipotle or Subway.)
- If it works, Porter says, it could establish a model for future franchising efforts.
State of play: The company has grown to about 45 workers since the Nations location opened five years ago.
- "It's one thing to have 30 really high-end restaurants. But let's be real, not everyone can go to those," Porter says.
- "To have something that's available to everybody, that's what we do. Hopefully, it's doing that gourmet thing without having to break the bank."
- "I don't think very many owners would be comfortable getting naked in an apron and having some dude take a picture of them and blast it all over the internet. But, you know, I don't mind. I'm willing to see what happens and have fun with it."
- "If you're not having fun, there's no point doing it."
On the menu: Daddy's Dogs serves their enormous hot dogs in grilled buns. The menu ranges from hot dog staples — chili cheese dogs, corndogs and Chicago-style — to creative monthly specials.
- This month's special is the El Papi Grande, which is topped with bacon and pico de gallo.
The bottom line: "I don't want to serve something that isn't a banger."
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