By Brian Boyd
NEW BEDFORD — Naughty Dawgs is coming back to the city’s downtown for the first time in eight years.
The popular restaurant has applied for permits to open its third location on North Sixth Street, near City Hall. Naughty Dawgs formerly had a restaurant on Union Street but has not had a presence in the downtown since that location closed.
Customers have been asking the owners to return to the heart of the city, and the growth of the area makes the move attractive, said Ken Rapoza, who has owned the business for 18 years with partner Janis Sharek.
“I see a lot of foot traffic now, more foot traffic now than back then,” Rapoza said. “Downtown is coming back.”
While they are waiting for approval on their permits, they hope to open the restaurant in four to six weeks.
The new downtown site will have a Naughty Dawgs Express and a cafe, where customers can buy coffee and donuts in the morning, something that business has not done before. The decor will reflect the style of a 1950s diner, Rapoza said.
The restaurant will be able to seat 18 — most of the business will likely be takeout — and have a full menu including more healthy options, such as chicken salad. The owners expect to attract employees who work at nearby government and business offices, he said.
The opening of a downtown site is part of an ongoing expansion.
Naughty Dawgs started in Fairhaven. It left the town in September after its landlord asked it to move, but it was able to replace the one location with two new ones.
A South Dartmouth eatery opened in November, and a second location, which just has a takeout window, opened about two weeks ago in New Bedford’s North End.
Following the success of the other locations, the business is considering opening a fourth restaurant in the vicinity of the Dartmouth Mall, Rapoza said.
Naughty Dawgs also has launched a contest to name the dog in its logo. People can drop off contest forms at either of the existing locations, and the winner will receive a $100 gift card for Toys R Us.
January 19, 2012 12:00 AM
By Brian Boyd