No More Begging for Treats. Dogs Now Have Restaurants.
From special menus for canine companions to food trucks and even tasting menus, some restaurateurs are pulling out all the stops for pets.
Mason and Milo, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, celebrate a birthday party at Dogue in San Francisco. The restaurant caters to canines with a tasting menu that starts at $75 per dog. Credit…Kelsey McClellan for The New York Times
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By Christina Morales
To celebrate the 10-month anniversary of the successful spinal surgery on Jagger, her goldendoodle, Cat Torrejon-Nisbet didn’t buy him the traditional rawhide dog bone. Instead, she paid $15 for a light pink, rose-shaped dog pastry made with antelope heart from Dogue, a canine restaurant in San Francisco.
“They’re not going to love you more for giving them a fancy treat,” said Ms. Torrejon-Nisbet, 50, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., with Jagger and his Bernedoodle sister, Sierra. “It’s more about the love we have for our dogs.”
Dog owners like Ms. Torrejon-Nisbet are frequenting an increasing number of restaurants across the country that offer separate menus for their four-legged family members. Dog menus have become the new version of children’s menus at some restaurants. Pet parents can now order their dog a steak or Alaskan salmon with steamed rice. The dog can wash that down with a nonalcoholic “beer” made of pork broth, or a bowl of Dög Pawrignon made with wild-caught-salmon oil.
Other restaurants have gone a step further, catering exclusively to dogs, from custom canine birthday cakes to food trucks serving chicken nuggets and burgers. At Dogue, dogs eat a fine-dining tasting menu.
Kelly Lockett, 32, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, has taken Benji, her mini schnauzer mix, to several New York restaurants with dog menus, including Judy Z’s in Greenwich Village. “He gets so happy, and he enjoys spending time with us and not spending time home alone,” she said.
The pandemic has prompted an increase in pet ownership, according to a 2021-22 survey by the American Pet Products Association, which found dogs in about 65.1 million U.S. households. Sales of pet products have risen by $46 billion since 2018, according to the association, which predicted they will reach $143.6 billion this year.
In San Francisco, Jason Villacampa, 40, has treated his corgis, Tony and Captain, to the tasting menu at Dogue four times. It costs $75 per dog, with complimentary sparkling water or mimosas for the owner.