Gail Bellamy, executive food editor of Restaurant Hospitality
In the column Bellamy: Bean There, Ate That, Restaurant Hospitality executive food editor Gail Bellamy shares a personal take on food and the restaurant industry.
The dog days of August are upon us and, as a dog-lover, I can’t help noticing more canine-friendly restaurant patios. Patio dining where pooches are welcome is an amenity that matters most to people traveling with pets, but it also can create a buzz closer to home.
Personally, I avoid dining out with my dog (she chews with her mouth open and has so many food allergies it’s a pain to order for her). However, it’s great to know that the option is there. Doggie diners used to be something one only saw at sidewalk cafes in Europe. Now, dog-friendly places seem to be everywhere. Here are some examples of how restaurants are pleasing their dog-loving patrons.
In May, Seattle’s Belltown Pub introduced its Belltown Pup menu of pub food made for dogs. At a Dog Social event introducing the menu, the dogs were invited to sample the new items for free. Entrees included grain-free fresh deboned chicken with sweet potato and pumpkin. At the eco-friendly Harbor Café in Santa Cruz, CA, the Doggie Menu ranges from jerky (lamb and rice) for $1 to a yummy pig ear ($4) and a foot-long bully stick ($6, recommended for adult dogs).
Earlier this year, Bay Woof’s 2012 “Beast of the Bay” competition named The Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. in Half Moon Bay, CA, the Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant and the second-best Dog Friendly Bar in the Bay Area. To celebrate, brewmaster Kirk Hillyard and chef Gaston Alfaro collaborated to create housemade Mavericks Bones with spent grains from Moon Bay Brewing Company’s artisan beers. While guests dine on the patio, their dogs’ first bag of Mavericks Bones is complimentary; additional bags are $1.75 each.
At Art & Soul in Washington, D.C., the Pooch Patio Menu includes food and drink. Bowser Beer ($4) is a nonalcoholic specialty. Food choices range from a frozen raw bone ($5) or beef tips in rich sauce with rice ($5) to the Hungry Dawg 6-oz. grilled steak ($8). The Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, NJ, has been celebrating the Dog Days with their Yappy Hour on the terrace for patrons and their pooches. From 5 to 7 p.m., a customer’s first drink is half-price. Well-behaved dogs on leashes get a special “pupcake” prepared by pastry chef Duane Hendershot.
If you want to check out dog-friendly restaurants, the Bring Fido website offers pet-friendly travel advice and lists the top 10 dog-friendly restaurants in the world. In the meantime, I’m going to remain on the lookout for creative menu items for dogs. Is anybody offering potato yips or tin woof sundaes yet?
I’d be interested in hearing about the challenges and rewards of operating a dog-friendly restaurant. Has it caused problems with customers who aren’t necessarily animal-lovers? Has it increased profits?
Gail Bellamy is the executive food & beverage editor of Restaurant Hospitality. She is the author of five books and is an accomplished poet who often writes about her love of food.
Contact Gail Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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