Just a few years ago, Greg Tillery was slinging wings from his We Dat food truck, following second lines and setting up outside nightclubs and by a car wash on Tulane Avenue.
Today the young restaurateur still has to cover a lot of ground, but now that means shuttling between locations of this We Dat’s Chicken & Shrimp.
We Dat's officially opens its third location today (Jan. 21) in Marrero, which joins others downtown on Canal Street and in Gentilly. A grand opening party scheduled for noon today will include live music and other promotions.
This latest We Dat’s is at 4905 Westbank Expwy, in a location that was for many years a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen franchise. More recently it was an Italian pie (the Popeyes relocated nearby).
“I’m really encouraged by the way people have responded to this,” Tillery said. “This has all really been a blessing.”
We Dat’s serves chicken wings, loaded fries, fried shrimp and catfish and does it with a strong dose of New Orleans pride.
The exterior of these shops are painted a regal purple, while inside the walls are decked in murals. For this new Marrero shop, that artwork includes logos from Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Tillery chose Martin Luther King Jr. Day to debut the new business.
From his start in the food truck business, Tillery stood out with a relentless focus on service, not typically a hallmark of the mobile food vendor game. When customers had to wait for orders, he essentially offered car hop service, running their meals out them.
He built a following and parlayed this into his first location, which opened in 2016 in a small Canal Street storefront that had been empty for years. The Gentilly location followed in 2017.
“As soon as we opened that second one, people started asking ‘when are you coming to the West Bank?’” Tillery said when announcing the Marrero shop. “You know how it is in New Orleans. Even if it’s not too far, when people like something they want it in their neighborhood.”
We Dat's has since also developed a retail line of seasoning blends now distributed at local groceries.
1407 Canal St., 504-252-4927
4500 Old Gentilly Road, 504-605-9959
4905 Westbank Expwy., slated to open Jan. 21 at noon
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