8 Pet-Friendly Restaurant Chains
Patio season is in full swing, and you’re probably wondering where you can take your dog to eat alfresco. Fortunately, many restaurant chains offer pet-friendly patios and menus (secret or otherwise) so you can enjoy dining with your pet. Here, find out where you can grab a bite alongside your pup across the country and get tips on how everyone can enjoy dining out with a dog:
Dairy Queen has been serving soft serve to customers since 1940, and the massive ice cream chain also gives treats to furry friends. Many Dairy Queens offer dogs a free small vanilla soft-serve called a “pup cup.”
When bringing your dog to a restaurant, call ahead to ensure that it is indeed pet friendly before you leave home. And make sure to be mindful of other diners.
“Many of us view our dogs as an integral part of the family and enjoy taking them with us when we go out to eat,” says Einat Ganzarski, owner of Seattle-based dog walking company Strut The Pup who dines out with her dog about twice per week. “But not everyone feels the same way, especially in a place of dining. As dog owners, we may want to take a few steps to ensure that our experience is a good one and that includes caring about those sitting around us.”
The West Coast’s beloved burger chain (celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is a huge fan) also caters to dog. Because much of the In-N-Out menu is “secret,” it makes sense dogs would have their own hidden menu item, too (you can order an unseasoned “pup patty” without bread and toppings).
When bringing your dog to a restaurant, make sure to pack water and provide potty breaks before, during and after your meal to prevent accidents from happening, Ganzarski says.
Who says drive-ins are dead, anyway? The Oklahoma-based, drive-thru-only restaurant is another dog-friendly option. You don’t even have to get out of the car to have a bite to eat, making it convenient for pet owners. In true retro fashion, you order from your car and a carhop on roller skates brings you and your dog food.
“Most locations give dog biscuits, and some will even give free ice cream,” says Lauren Greer, social media manager at BringFido.com, a travel website for dogs and their owners.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based chain started in 1989 and has since blossomed to nearly 200 locations in 19 states. Bruster’s ice cream is made the old-fashioned way with slow-kettle processing from a milk-based mix. Here, your dog can get a free dog cone or cup of ice cream with a Milk Bone to top it off.
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar goes above and beyond for canine friends. All dogs are welcome on the West Coast chain’s dog-friendly patios and can order a bite to eat from their very own menu. Dogs are not allowed inside the restaurant, however, and must be kept on leash. Additionally, the dog menu is not served at the Plano, Texas location.
When it comes to finding a place to sit, Ganzarski recommends finding seats away from the crowd and placing your dog at the far side of the table away from others.
“If the restaurant is crowded, either look for another place or ask the people you will be sitting next to if it is okay that you sit there with you dog,” she says.
As Shake Shack states on its website, “we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for your furry four-legged friend. We were born in a park, after all!” The restaurant that started as a shack in New York City back in 2004 has now blossomed into a chain with locations throughout the country.
The restaurant’s dog menu features two items: a Pooch-ini featuring ShackBurger dog biscuits, peanut butter sauce and vanilla custard and a Bag O’ Bones, featuring five ShackBurger dog biscuits made just for the company by New York City’s Bocce’s Bakery. Shake Shack’s dog menu is available at all Shake Shacks except stadiums, ballparks, airports and international outposts.
When you’re with your dog on a patio, “have your dog lay down, and make sure to always be in control of the leash so that there are no surprise run offs,” says Ganzarski.
Image via: Shake Shack
In addition to all kinds of creative coffee beverages that you can order off menu, Seattle-based coffee behemoth Starbucks also has a secret, dog-friendly menu item. Ask the barista for a “puppuccino,” and you’ll receive small cup of whipped cream. “It’s just whipped cream in a cup, but dogs love it,” says Greer.
Dogs are welcome to sit on Starbucks outdoor patios and at the drive-thru locations.
Culver’s Frozen Custard
Culver’s Frozen Custard started in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984 and today the restaurant has locations sprinkled throughout the country. The restaurant serves burgers, fries and is well-known for its fresh frozen custard and cheese curds. If you go through the drive-thru or dine alfresco, your pup might score some treats or you can order your pup a cup of ice cream with a dog bone.
While you’re eating, keep your dog near you and be sure to attend their needs.
“Don’t tie your dog outside to a pole while you go in and eat. That is unfair to your pet and can create both a noise and safety hazard outside,” says Ganzarski.
Teresa K. Traverse is a Phoenix-based writer, editor, traveler and dog mom to Chihuahuas Autumn and Rocket.