When dogs are welcomed at restaurants
It’s an increasingly common scene in Fresno: A sunny day. A meal on a restaurant patio. And Fido.
Dog owners are bringing their pets to patios at local restaurants more and more.
Fresno even has a restaurant that is dog-themed, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar on North Blackstone Avenue, which opened in October. It has a menu for dogs that includes grilled hamburger patty with brown rice.
Pets on patios became legal after the passage of statewide law in 2014.
People like dog lover Candie Wasson of Fresno bring their dogs – hers is named Galloway – to dinner frequently. She also takes him to places like Starbucks or Cold Stone Creamery.
“I think it’s great when we can take them,” she said. “My guys are always well behaved and it’s nice to see other well behaved dogs out also. It makes it really enjoyable.”
She even had a birthday party for Galloway (“you only turn 6 once,” she says) with about 30 people and at least a dozen dogs at Lazy Dog.
The statewide law allows cities and counties to make their own restrictions if they want. Fresno County follows statewide restaurant code when it comes to dogs on patios, and city and county leash laws.
There are a lot of rules, some that aren’t always followed. They include the following:
The restaurant owner has to be OK with having dogs on patios.
Dogs are not allowed inside restaurants, only on restaurant patios that have their own separate entrance.
Employees cannot have contact with the dogs.
Food cannot be prepared on the patio and utensils can’t be stored on the patio.
Leash laws mean dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times.
If the dog is going to eat or drink, it must be from a container that’s only used once, said Wayne Fox, division manager of environmental health, part of the Fresno County Department of Public Health. It can’t be on a dish that would be brought back into the kitchen.
“We don’t want contaminants from an animal, from the dogs, in the food area,” he said. “We’re very particular that the food facilities in Fresno County are safe and clean.”
They’re trying to avoid germs the dog might have (or pick up from other dogs) being passed on to people at the restaurant, he said.
Not everybody loves the idea of dining with dogs. Some diners say they don’t want dog hair anywhere near their food. The public health department gets lots of calls from people who don’t want dogs at restaurants.
Customers can report dogs and owners breaking the law by calling 559-600-3357, though the dogs are often gone by the time an inspector gets there.
Dogs that are unruly or aggressive are usually not welcome.
One restaurant co-owner, Bob Sullivan of Starving Artist Bistro, put it this way: “I have a pet-friendly patio as long as you have a pet that’s friendly to my patio.”
Still, employees have been bitten three times by dogs, he said.
Many restaurants welcome well-behaved dogs, however. We put together a list of some of the more dog-friendly restaurants in the Fresno and Clovis area and what perks they offer for dogs. This is not a comprehensive list, however, so if you’re wondering about your favorite cafe, give it a call.
Bottleneck Bistro in Clovis dog friendly and customers can order meat for dogs.
Campagnia Bistro restaurant allows dogs on its bar patio only and gives them water.
Dai Bai Dang in River Park has a patio that’s good for dogs and their owners who want to be seen.
Elbow Room in Fig Garden Village welcomes dogs. They give them treats and whatever pet-friendly snacks customers request from the kitchen.
Eureka! Restaurants will bring out dog treats and water.
Gazebo Gardens nursery hosts food truck and beer garden nights Thursdays through Saturdays. Dogs on leashes are welcome and have a little more room to move around than your typical patio.
Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen, a beer bar in the Tower District, welcomes dogs. The back patio has a separate entrance.
In-N-Out Burger welcomes dogs in its outdoor eating areas in Fresno. Customers sometimes order unsalted plain meat patties for their dogs.
Lazy Dog Restaurant has a menu just for dogs and dog-themed touches like paw prints on the tables throughout the restaurant.
Mad Duck welcomes dogs on its patios at both its locations. With the Clovis location so close to PetSmart, it’s not unusual for them to have treats on hand at times.
Neighbors Tap & Cook House is welcoming to dogs and will bring them water.
Patio Cafe provides water for dogs. The restaurant also sells bags of dog treats from the St. Francis Homeless Project’s Dog’s Dig ‘Em, which employs women recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. The cafe has been known to occasionally give out samples of the dog treats.
Rancheros Mexican Restaurant will bring water and customers can order rice for their dogs.
Rocket Dog Brats & Brew’s Fresno location has a patio and a “dog wall” full of pictures of customers’ dogs. Some people order plain turkey dogs for their pets.
The Clovis location doesn’t have a patio, but the House of Pendragon Brewing Co. tap room is next door and that patio allows dogs and takeout food from Rocket Dog.
Sno Cafe, a shaved ice food truck, sells “pup cups”. These are cups of shaved ice covered in chicken broth and topped with whipped cream and a Milkbone treat, sometimes with a dog-friendly treat at the bottom of the cup.
The truck can regularly be found at CArtHop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays at Mariposa Plaza, 1060 Fulton Mall. You can also find them at Enzo’s Table and Gazebo Gardens. Check their website for their schedule.
Starbucks customers can get “puppuccinos,” little cups of whipped cream for dogs.
Starving Artist Bistro has dog treats and water available and gets plenty of dog owners walking in from nearby Woodward Park.
TGI Fridays lets dogs on its patio and offers them water.
Tioga Sequoia Craft Brewery welcomes dogs at its outdoor beer garden in downtown Fresno. The brewery sells dog-themed merchandise and dogs get a bowl of water. It even serves a dog beer, Bowser Beer, which has no alcohol, hops or carbonation.
Vino Grille & Spirits gives dogs water, and their owners can order hamburgers and chicken breasts for them.