Dawghouse Sports Grill set for total overhaul

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After over 23 years of serving Ruston clientele, the Dawghouse Sports Grill will be shutting its doors this Saturday at midnight.

And those doors – and the rest of the building – will be coming down.

(Insert dramatic pause here)

But don’t worry, folks. It’s all for a good reason.

Owner Danielle Davis is all smiles as she talks about the new – and improved – Dawghouse that will be coming this fall.

A complete demolition and total remodel will occur over the spring and summer and loyal customers are in for a real treat when it re-opens tentatively in early September – just in time for the start of the college football season.

“The original idea was to just remodel; to repair any damage,” said Davis, who is also the proud new owner of Portico since January 1. “Once you get into it, just the cost of getting everything up to code, it’s just not worth it. I’m not adding anything new if I went that route.

“This will cost more, but with the new, I am better utilizing space, and I have a new building that is sound. We should be able to seat almost twice as many people when its all said and done.”

Originally opened on Sept. 8, 1998, Davis said the seating in the existing Dawghouse is 130, but that when the new restaurant opens it will seat upwards of 230.

But that won’t be the only change.

“There will be windows,” said Davis. “Lots of windows.”

The east side of the building will include a 600 square foot outdoor patio or beer garden, containing a fire pit, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs on a concrete floor. It will be open air and plans are to include a pergola system that will have sensors to detect moisture, thus closing to create a hard ceiling.

The beer garden will also include heating as well as a bug repellent system to help prevent mosquitos and other bugs native to our neck of the woods.

The interior of the new Dawghouse will include roughly 45 televisions throughout the building, including a 3-by-3 video wall composed of 55-inch TVs in the dining room area.

“So, it’s basically nine 55-inch TVs put together in a grid,” said Davis. “You could put four on one game and five on another, or all nine on the same game. It will provide some variety.”

Davis said that dart boards will be part of the new Dawghouse, although no more pool tables will exist. She also said that menus will stay the same upon the re-opening, although they may add a few new items slowly.

The bar area on the inside will be U-shaped and attached to the kitchen with designated beer cooler (out of sight) with taps housing 24 different beers.

“The building is meant to be indestructible,” said Davis. “Everything is rustic. It’s very warehouse-y feeling. We just wanted to put in more light. It’s still going to be cinder blocks to pay homage to what it was but just make it more livable.”

Another positive to the new restaurant will be the fact Davis said it will create roughly 30 additional jobs. 

Davis did say fans can come this week to watch the Bulldogs and Lady Techsters compete in the C-USA Basketball Tournament in Frisco.

“Our long-term goal is to continue to be the place that students, alumni and fans no matter where they are from, the Dawghouse is where they want to be,” said Davis. “We want to be the No. 1 place to watch games and not be a chain restaurant. We still want that local feel. We have put so much of our blood, sweat and tears into this community and University, with this new space, we will able to do that for a long time to come.”

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