Dec 262012

Liberty Cheesesteak will open in the former Dat Dog (photo from Google Maps)

A Philly cheesesteak shop slated for the tiny hot dog stand that grew into Dat Dog across the street is among the next new wave of businesses opening on and around Freret Street in the coming year.

Michael Casey’s dream of opening a Philadelphia cheesesteak shop is now well underway.

“Over the course of the year it went from, ‘Can we do this?’ to, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’” Casey said.

Casey, along with friend and business partner Joseph Seremet, will open Liberty Cheesesteak in Dat Dog’s former location at 5031 Freret St.

The two attended Tulane University together, were roommates and both had experience in the service industry. When Casey was recently back in town for Seremet’s wedding, the dream started to become more of a reality.

“I couldn’t believe the success of Freret Street,” Casey said adding, “In August I dropped everything and came here.”

Casey said the atmosphere will be similar to Dat Dog. He said they are repositioning the kitchen and making a few aesthetic changes in the space.

“Were just trying to make it as efficient as possible,” he said regarding the modifications.

Casey plans to have indoor and outdoor seating available. The menu will start with eight items, cheesesteaks and a few options of fries, he said. He’s spent months prototyping food for the menu and finding local vendors to work with to ensure fresh ingredients.

Casey hopes to have Liberty Cheesesteak ready to open by Feb. 1, in time for the Superbowl, he noted.

“I wouldn’t open my doors without the perfect Philadelphia experience,” Casey said.

Other businesses opening in the coming months include a music school, a dentist’s office and a counseling center, adding a range of services offered to a corridor better known for its restaurants.

The Thibodeaux School of Music is opening up at 2436 Valance St. It will offer private lessons in all musical instruments for all ages. They will also offer the Kindermusik program for the young musicians.

The New Orleans Counseling Center is open at 2503 Upperline St. The center provides counseling to adults and specializes in issues relating to anxiety, trauma, personal growth and depth psychology. Founder Thomas Fewer already lived in the neighborhood and decided to open shop there as well.

“I always wanted to be a part of the neighborhood, to live and work and contribute to the growth,” he said.

At the corner of Freret Street and Napoleon Avenue, Tolar Family Dentistry is opening in a new office constructed on a once-vacant lot. They are a full-service dentist and currently taking new clients.

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