Dogs Welcome! 10 Restaurants Where You Can Dine With Your Pup

Introduction

Dog-friendly restaurants, where patrons are allowed to bring their dogs inside while dining, are becoming more popular. According to a report, there has been a steady increase in restaurants, particularly major chains, developing dog-friendly spaces or policies. This caters to dog owners who want to bring their pets along when going out to eat.

Allowing dogs inside restaurants has benefits and challenges. On the plus side, it provides a more welcoming atmosphere for patrons with dogs and enables owners to bring their pets more places. However, restaurants must also consider factors like cleanliness, allergies, and the comfort of other guests who may not want dogs around while dining. Restaurants that allow dogs typically have designated spaces or outdoor seating areas to accommodate patrons with pets.

Legalities

There are certain health codes and laws that restaurants must follow regarding allowing dogs inside. According to the FDA Food Code, dogs are not allowed in areas where food is prepared, stored, or served (https://usserviceanimals.org/blog/are-service-dogs-allowed-in-restaurants/). Dogs also cannot come into contact with dishes, utensils, table linens, or single-service items. However, service dogs are an exception to these rules.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires restaurants to allow service dogs to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law overrides any state or local laws regarding dogs in public places (https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/3812/service-animals.html). Under the ADA, restaurant staff can only ask two questions if it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal – 1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and 2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? They cannot ask for proof of certification or ID documents for the dog.

Refusing service or creating barriers for people with service dogs can lead to legal liability and penalties under the ADA. Restaurants must allow service dogs access even if they have a “no pets” policy (https://archive.ada.gov/archive/qasrvc.htm). Overall, restaurants must follow health codes regarding regular dogs, but make appropriate exceptions for trained service dogs assisting people with disabilities.

Popular Dog-Friendly Restaurant Chains

Several major restaurant chains allow dogs on their outdoor patios. Here is an overview of the most popular chains with dog-friendly policies:

Starbucks is one of the most well-known chains that often allows dogs. However, specific store policies can vary. In general, well-behaved dogs are permitted on outdoor seating patios when kept on a short leash. Some locations may even put out water bowls.

a photo of a dog sitting outside a starbucks

Shake Shack states that leashed, well-mannered dogs are welcome on their outdoor patios. They pride themselves on being an animal-friendly business. Stores may have treats behind the counter for dogs as well.

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar encourages guests to dine with their dogs on their heated patios. Water bowls are provided. Some locations even have a special “Yappy Hour” for dogs.

Outdoor seating areas at Panera Bread often allow leashed dogs. However, policies can vary per cafe location, so check with your local store.

At Sonic Drive-In, you can dine with your dog in one of their covered outdoor picnic tables. Stores typically have bowls of water available. Just keep dogs leashed and supervised.

Considerations for Restaurants

Opening up a restaurant to dogs requires careful consideration from the business perspective. Restaurant owners must weigh the pros and cons and prepare their staff and facilities accordingly.

On the pro side, allowing dogs can attract more customers, especially dog owners who want to dine out with their pets. It creates a unique atmosphere that people enjoy. Some data shows that restaurants that allow dogs see increased customer loyalty and engagement.

However, there are also potential downsides. Some customers may feel uncomfortable around dogs and choose to dine elsewhere. There are also liability issues if a dog were to bite or injure someone on the premises. Restaurants may need to update their insurance policies when allowing dogs.

Staff training is crucial for a smooth experience. Employees should learn how to politely deal with any misbehaving dogs and be prepared to enforce rules and limitations. It’s also important to educate customers on expectations for their dogs during their visit.

In terms of facilities, restaurants may want to create designated dog-friendly areas or patios. Having a separate entrance for dogs can help avoid issues. Providing water bowls and treats creates a welcoming environment for pet owners.

Overall, allowing dogs requires thoughtfulness, preparation and proper accommodations. But many restaurants find the extra effort pays off through increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Creating a Dog-Friendly Space

To successfully accommodate dogs, restaurants need to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for canine guests while still meeting the needs of human patrons. This involves both physical and operational adaptations.

In terms of physical space, outdoor seating areas work best for allowing dogs. Indoor dining rooms present more health code challenges. Outdoor patios should have adequate shade and water stations. Providing water bowls allows dogs to stay hydrated without their owners needing to bring bowls from home. Having a grassy patch as a designated dog restroom area is also helpful.

Operations-wise, staff should be ready to gracefully handle any doggy mishaps like accidents or excessive barking. Training staff on proper cleaning protocols after a dog’s visit is essential as well. It’s also important to designate sections that are pet-friendly vs regular outdoor seating since some patrons may have allergies or phobias.

Well-defined expectations help avoid issues. Having simple rule signage reminds owners to keep dogs leashed, cleaned up after, and under control. Special treats on the menu, “pup-arazzi” photo opportunities and water bowls make dogs feel like special guests. With some preparation, restaurants can successfully integrate canine customers in outdoor spaces.

Menu Considerations

Dog-friendly restaurants should offer menu items that appeal to both pet owners and their four-legged companions. Many establishments with outdoor seating areas have special “doggie menus” featuring pet-safe foods like unseasoned chicken, hamburgers without onions or garlic, plain rice, and even doggie ice cream for dessert. Some restaurants may allow owners to order select human menu items to share with dogs in moderation, such as plain grilled meat or steamed vegetables. It’s best to have bowls of water readily available for thirsty pups as well.

Popular pet store chain Petco recommends avoiding giving dogs foods high in fat, salt, sugar, and spices, which can upset their stomachs. Onions, chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, and artificial sweeteners are also toxic for dogs and should be avoided. When in doubt, owners can ask servers for recommendations for dog-safe menu items.1

a dog eating pet-friendly food

Some restaurants take the extra step of creating special doggie treat menus, with pet-friendly options like pupcakes, cookies, ice cream, and more. For example, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar has a woof menu with tasty treats like doggie sundaes and puppy pizza. Providing these special indulgences enhances the dining experience for pets and their owners alike. Overall, having dog-friendly food and treat options shows that an establishment truly caters to four-legged customers.

City Case Studies

Certain cities have fully embraced being dog-friendly, with numerous restaurants welcoming canine customers. Nashville is one city leading the way. According to PatchPets, Nashville has a reputation as one of the best cities for dog-friendly restaurants, with pups of all sizes welcomed at many eateries. Austin, Texas is another top dog-friendly destination, with hot spots like Yard Bar and The Wheel serving up pup-friendly fare.

In Los Angeles, restaurants like Bottega Louie, Peddler’s Creamery, and Los Balcones Peruanos all offer patio seating and doggie menus. San Diego has an abundance of dog-friendly options near the beach, like Wonderland Ocean Pub and Hodad’s Burgers. Up north, Seattle has patios and even off-leash areas to accommodate furry diners at places like Rocco’s and Chiso Ramen. Portland, Oregon is also a pet paradise, with major chains like McMenamins, Sweet Hereafter, and even Voodoo Doughnuts allowing leashed dogs.

These cities show that embracing dog-friendly dining can be a win-win – pet owners have more options to dine out with their pups, while restaurants tap into a loyal customer base. With more cities following this trend, dining with dogs may become the norm nationwide.

Etiquette for Owners

When dining out with your dog, it’s important to be courteous and follow proper etiquette. Here are some tips for dining with dogs responsibly:

Tips for Dining with Dogs

  • Make sure your dog is well-behaved and will not disturb other patrons.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and under control at all times.
  • Bring a mat or towel for your dog to lay on.
  • Be prepared to clean up any messes your dog makes.
  • Do not allow your dog to beg or take food from other tables.
  • Avoid having your dog approach strangers or other dogs unless invited.
  • Sit in designated pet-friendly areas when available.

Importance of Training

Well-trained dogs are a must for dining out together. Invest time into basic obedience training, including:

  • Sit, stay, come commands
  • No begging for food
  • Settling calmly under the table
  • Ignoring other patrons and dogs
  • Proper leash manners

With training, you can ensure your dog is polite in public settings and help make restaurant experiences enjoyable for all.

Benefits

Allowing dogs inside restaurants can provide some great benefits for both businesses and the community (TikTok). One major benefit is community building. Restaurants that welcome dogs often become popular neighborhood spots where local residents regularly gather with their pets. This can help create a sense of community and connection. According to research, pet-friendly spaces encourage more conversation and social interaction (CachedView).

Another benefit is supporting pet adoption. Many shelters and rescues highlight if a dog is “restaurant-friendly” to attract adopters. Dog-friendly restaurants help make adopted pets more desirable and show businesses support animal welfare. With more willing adopters, shelters can rescue more dogs in need. So pet-loving restaurants indirectly help reduce animal homelessness and euthanasia.

dogs available for adoption at an animal shelter

The Future

The trend of dog-friendly restaurants is expected to continue growing in popularity in the coming years. According to this source, dog-friendly restaurants could become a hotspot for meals and drinks all around the country as more people want to bring their dogs along. However, some concerns around food safety and health regulations will need to be addressed.

There are several innovations that could make dog-friendly restaurants even more accommodating in the future. Some restaurants may offer special doggie menus with nutritional meals and treats. Others may provide water bowls, treats, and even play areas to keep dogs entertained. Mobile apps could allow owners to reserve dog-friendly seating and order items for their pets. Restaurants could also implement more robust sanitation procedures or design layouts better suited for pets.

new innovations for dog-friendly restaurants

Overall, the trend toward dog-friendly dining seems poised for growth. With some thoughtful innovations to enhance the experience for both patrons and pets, while maintaining food safety, restaurants may continue expanding their canine-inclusive offerings.

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