‘To appreciate food and life is to appreciate animals, too’ doggie dining grows in America

America isn’t France, but increasingly dogs are allowed to join folks for a public meal.

Sharon Peters writes in today’s The USA Today that across America, an ever-growing number of eating establishments, many of them high-end, are opening their patios to diners who want to share their eating-out experience with their pets.

Art Smith, owner/chef of the chic Art and Soul restaurant on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C, which draws scores of Washingtonians to its canine-welcoming patio every week, says,

"To appreciate food and life is to appreciate animals, too.”

In canine-crazy Carmel, Calif., many restaurants have pup-friendly patios, including Bahama Billy’s Island Steakhouse, where the 16 patio tables are often jam-packed with patrons with pooches.

There are never any outbursts of canine bad behavior, says co-owner Sylvia Sharp. The dogs "seem to view (the patio) as neutral territory, kind of like Switzerland."

At trendy downtown eatery Nosh in Colorado Springs, the massive patio — in the shadow of Pike’s Peak — becomes a veritable playground for dogs and owners every summer Sunday. Plastic kiddie pools are filled with water, tables are arranged to maximize romp-around room, and off-leash dogs frolic dog-park style, sniffing up each other (and the humans), sampling treats from the bags of doggie goodies presented free to each diner accompanied by a dog, and coaxing each other into splash-fests.

Dirty doggie dining in Manhattan, Kansas

When I first opened the Kansas State Collegian yesterday morning, the following headline popped out: “Green, pet-friendly bar opens in Aggieville.” The story started:

“Tail wagging, mouth drooling, riled up with excitement stands Tank the dog, welcoming bar patrons this Saturday to the newly renovated the Loft Bar and Grill.”


The owner added,


“We will be having many different types of animals outside the Loft — dogs, goats and even miniature Clydesdales.” Jacobson said. “Our bar is very pet-friendly.”


Actually, the Kansas Food Code prohibits animals on food establishments, unless they are assistance animals, according to code reference 6-501.115 found here.


Did Jackson read over the Food Code before opening his restaurant? Maybe he’s a rebel, or is he just playing it dumb?


The local health department inspectors would consider bringing pets to a restaurant a critical violation. Last year, Tanks Tavern, also in Aggieville, was cited two critical violations including: “live dog in bar and dog food stored under sink.”


As Amy and Doug wrote, “tripping, biting, dog fights, barking, allergies, and the transfer of dangerous microorganisms such as E. coli, salmonella and cryptosporidium” are some of the risks that come along with doggie dining.


Restaurants in Florida can apply for permits to allow dogs on their patio, if they meet certain conditions. Employees must not touch pets while handling food, and if they do, they must wash their hands. Customers should also wash their hands before eating and keep their pets off tables, chairs, and tables.


As far as I know, we are still in Kansas, where doggie dining is clearly prohibited.


These are my puppies:

No doggie dining allowed in Wake county, NC

The Raleigh News & Observer reports today that Wake County health authorities have begun enforcing a no doggie-dining rule, an interpretation of a North Carolina state rule that prohibits pets from "a food preparation or storage area." The crackdown was apparently in response to a list of pet-friendly patios listed in the News & Observer last week.

Restaurateur Greg Hatem, questioned how health officials can regulate activity on sidewalks, where many of his restaurants have outdoor tables.

"I don’t know how it would create any more of an environmental risk than people walking dogs by on the sidewalk," Hatem said. "If they want to regulate something, we have a lot of street vagrants hounding our guests who are probably more of an environmental risk than the puppies."

"We’re certainly pet-friendly," Hatem said. "We’re going to continue to be pet-friendly until we’re told otherwise."

There are a number of potential risks including tripping, biting, dog fights, barking, allergies, and the transfer of dangerous microorganisms such as E. coli, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium. While pathogens can be transferred from pet-to-human and back and theoretically cause illness, there haven’t been any patio-related outbreaks recorded.

Florida recently enacted rules permiting doggie dining with provisions to reduce pet and owner co-eating related risks; some restaurants have also set aside entire sections for doggie dining. Rules state that hand sanitizer be available, restaurant staff are not allowed to touch the pets while working and poop must be picked up promptly. Seems reasonable.

Doggie dining update: seems to work in Sarasota

Amy and I have developed a habit of going to the Sarasoto/Venice Beach area on Florida’s Gulf coast.

Especially in August.

It’s just too hot in Kansas.

We won’t be taking the dogs this year but we probably will in the future.

According to this update in the Herald Tribune, Florida authorized local governments to create doggie dining in 2006, and Sarasota and Manatee counties enacted ordinances in 2007.

Since then, the concept has taken off in Sarasota, where no major problems have been reported.

Sarasota has 14 eateries that have obtained a license to allow dogs to join their humans while eating at outdoor restaurant dining areas.

Some established restaurants, like Mattison’s City Grille in Sarasota, have set aside entire sections specifically for diners with dogs. …

Rules require hand sanitizer to be available for patrons, and restaurant staff are prohibited from touching the pets while working. Any "accidents" must be promptly cleaned up.

This seems entirely sensible, as long as the rules are followed and yahoos kept to a minimum

And I can’t decide whether it’s doggie dining or doggy dining.

No more naked dining

What with baby Sorenne, and the breastfeeding, and my general attitude, there’s been a lot of nakedness around the house lately.

However, with student Katie arriving tomorrow from Canada to take up residence in the basement, time to be more discreet.

Unlike the dude in Australia’s Northern Territory who was served hot chips (right, exactly as shown) at a Territory eatery wearing … nothing.

The late night reveller stripped bare before putting in his order at the Darwin City 24-Hour Eatery on Smith St early on Monday.

A witness said the naked man walked into the shop to order two buckets of chips with gravy.

And the female attendant was reportedly only too happy to serve the nude customer.

Top-10 dining experiences?

A site called Trifter.com lists the top-10 ridiculously unique dining experiences people should attempt before they die.

1. Toilet

The toilet-themed restaurant is nothing new in China. Instead of serviette or napkins, customers wipe their hands and mouths using toilet paper rolls The restaurant is also decorated with various shaped urinals and toilet seats on the wall.

2. Hospital

Aurum is a newly opened hospital-themed restaurant in Clark Quay, Singapore. As you enter the Aurum, the restaurant’s reception resembles a morgue. The lightings remind you of the ones in the operating theatre. Customers sit on golden wheelchairs and the meals are served on the operating tables. The cutleries used for the meal include syringes.

3. Pet-Friendly

In 2005, Dorothy Moore opened The Dining Dog Café in Edmonds, WA, a pet-friendly restaurant for dogs and their owners.

4. Condom                                

The Cabbage and Condom is a popular condom-themed restaurant in Thailand that promotes safe sex and family planning. The menu consists of mostly condom-themed dishes, for example "condom salad" and the after meal mint which is normally distributed after each meal is replaced with a packet of condom.

5. Bed

Duvet, a restaurant in New York city features 30 customized, designer dining beds as the "seats" with tables, catered for extra comfort. Customers are also offered to wear customized bedroom slippers when they enter the restaurant.

6. Rude Service

If you like to experience rude service you can go to the Dick’s Last Resort in Chicago. This is where you can not only enjoy a wide range of choices in its menu but also have lots of fun from watching the waiters who will inflict rude jokes and humor upon the customers (including you).

7. Prison

The Jail is a prison-themed restaurant in Taiwan. The layout is just like any other prison with sliding iron bars and metallic aluminum floors with waitresses dressed as sexy wardens. Customers will be given the option to be handcuffed and taken to their own prison cell with a dining table and comfortable seats. This is where patrons can enjoy good food and soothing music.

8. Anger Release

If you are stress and need an alternative punch bag, you can visit Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in Nanjing, China. Customers can release their anger caused by stress and problems in daily life. They are allowed to throw and smash the plates and glasses or even hit the waiters who have been given special training for the job.

9. Body Platter

Hadaka Sushi, a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles, USA, introduces a sensual concept of "Nyotaimori" which basically means female body as the food platter. Usually the woman chosen for the task is a beautiful model who will then lay down as still as possible on a serving table. Most parts of her body will be covered with banana leaves where clusters of sushi will be placed on them.

10. Dark

For those who would like to experience dining in total darkness, you can visit Nocti Vagus Dark Restaurant in Berlin, Germany. The well-trained waiters who will serve you are blind. Customers will be entertained with special cultural programs also in darkness.

Cocoa Beach closer to dog-dining ordinance

Florida Today reports that Cocoa Beach could become the first beachside community in Brevard County, Florida, to allow restaurant patrons to bring their dogs to dinner (instead of leaving them outside in the rain, left).

Tonya Morgan, general manager at The Surf, which brought the request for the ordinance before the commission, said, "We thought that dogs were allowed on the patio. We never realized that we were breaking the law.”

Morgan said they wanted to legally do what they had already been doing at the request of customers, who come to the restaurant patio area with their dogs.

The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the measure. Councilman Ken Griffin, the lone dissenter, said, "I oppose this. I wasn’t raised up eating with dogs."

Doggie dining has pros and cons. The Florida state guidelines seem like a reasonable compromise.

NYU is proud of their safe ground beef

New York University’s student newspaper, Washington Square News, assured students this morning that meat served in their dining hall has not been part of the recent recall of Topp’s brand frozen ground beef patties linked to an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7.

The students didn’t seem too concerned, however. As one freshman revealed to the student reporter, "I don’t think it’s likely that an outbreak of E. coli would happen here because NYU is pretty health conscious."

While I’m glad they have confidence in their dining hall, I don’t believe that being health conscious will keep deadly pathogens out of their food.

Good hygiene practices and proper heating will, though. And another freshman at the university found peace of mind  in those  characteristics of the dining hall: "I know that NYU has strict requirements about heating the meat at a high enough temperature to kill bacteria," he said, "And NYU always claims how clean and healthy their kitchens are…"

Students should know that using a food thermometer to cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160F is the only way to ensure its safety. So, stick it in! And wash your hands: Don’t eat poop.

No, not eating dogs …

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chicago last night approved an ordinance that will allow doggie dining — allowing dogs to accompany their owners to sidewalk cafes.

The new doggie dining ordinance will take effect Jan. 1. Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who co-sponsored the ordinance, said doggie dining would "go a long way to restoring our prestige as one of the most dog-friendly cities in America."

He added that it "allows restaurant owners to decide for themselves if they wish to allow dogs at their sidewalk cafes. … The market will shift with consumers. Restaurants that find that dogs are not so popular will likely eliminate those options."

So no more being left in the backyard for some Chicago pups. I approve, as long as some very specific guidelines, like those practiced in Florida, are followed.

Really, it’s all about the pictures

The Chicago Tribune reports that legislation signed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich allows the city to make legal what waiters from Lincoln Park to the West Loop have allowed with a wink and a nod. A proposed ordinance to allow dogs to accompany their owners while dining is expected to be reviewed by an aldermanic committee this month.

Chicago Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th), a co-sponsor, was quoted as saying Friday, "We’re a world-class city and people have been doing this for a long time, so why not allow them to do this in a regulated way so it’s safe and clean?".

The proposed ordinance would prohibit dogs from sitting on a seat, table or countertop; forbid employees from handling the dogs; mandate cleaning up all spilled food among customers; and provide disposable towels and liquid hand sanitizer at every table that permits dogs.

The state law signed Friday states that no pet dog can be inside any restaurant or in any area where food is prepared. Also, a restaurant will have the right to refuse to serve a dog’s owner who fails to "exercise reasonable control" over his four-legged friend and a restaurant can refuse service if a dog threatens the health or safety of anyone at the eatery.

The proposal sounds reasonable and is similar to what has been implemented in Florida and what we’ve advocated.