to the Dogs (and a Few Cats): Pet-friendly Establishments
Foodservice Monthly - October 2004
it's not uncommon for a server to notice a furry face and floppy
ears poking over the menu. In Paris, Lyons, and Nice, human diners
regularly share restaurant space with Great Danes, teacup poodles
and everything in between. Here in the States, laws are not that
including the District of Columbia and suburban Virginia and
Maryland, restrict animals' access to dining establishments.
Usually, pets may curl up on sidewalk seating with their owners,
but entering the restaurant is a no- no-even en route to an outdoor
law, restaurateurs are required to accommodate guide dogs and
patrol dogs accompanying a police officer or security guard.
In group residences such as nursing homes, pets are allowed in
common dining areas at times OTHER than mealtimes.
pets are part of the family," says Ellen Gray, co-owner
of Equinox restaurant and chair of last month's third
annual Sugar and Champagne fundraiser for the Washington Humane
Society that raised approximately $15,000. "People love the
opportunity to share a relaxing and fun experience with their
pets, who-in-turn become more socialized," she adds. "It's beneficial
for dogs and people. You can take your dog along or leave him
at home alone for three or four hours. Often the dog becomes
bored and chews up things," Gray adds, as Equinox chef/co-owner Todd
Gray feeds shrimp to Bomber, a toy poodle belonging to a
regular alfresco customer. "In fact," says Ellen, the mother
of 5-year-old Harrison, ,'most dogs are better behaved than some
Cats? No. "I
adore cats-I have two cats and two dogs-but I've never seen a
cat who enjoys car rides." Gray adds that in New York City, some
restaurants allow felines inside at night to hunt mice.
welcoming pets outdoors include Creperie Cafe Bonaparte, 1522
Wisconsin Ave., NW, which provides water and com- plimentary
bone-shaped buckwheat crepes weekend mornings; Dean & DeLuca, 3276
M Street, NW, which also sells dog biscuits; Martin's Tavern, 1264
Wisconsin Ave., NW; La Plaza, 629 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
(Capitol Hill), WrapWorks, 1601 Connecticut Ave. NW (Dupont
Circle), Luna Grill & Diner, Arlington (Shirlington
Village). In Takoma Park, Md., the Savory Cafe welcomes "well
behaved leashed dogs" at outdoor tables.
many hotels are pet friendly these days. According to a survey
published in Parade magazine, more than 10 million Americans
took their pets on the road this past summer. Eighty percent
were dogs, while only 15 percent of quadrupled travelers were
felines. (Again, most cats don't travel well!) The remainder
included other species; we're not sure what.
respond with perks for their four-legged guests. In accordance
with local regulations, pets are allowed in hotel lobbies and
guest rooms, but not in the dining area. Again, service animals
are excepted. At the Fairmont Hotel Washington, dogs are
greeted with healthy treats, bottled water, a place mat and bowl,
and the ever- essential plastic bag for picking up after their
pets. A special "dog park" is located right outside for this
purpose. The Fairmont's complimentary pet program also includes
walking maps to nearby parks, loaner collars and leashes, and
a list of nearby pet-friendly cafes and shops. Moreover, every
time a canine companion stays at the hotel, 5 percent of the
room rate goes to Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
"So many people
travel with their dogs, even business people," says Fairmont
public relations representative Diana Bulger. "It relieves
their stress. After a long day of meetings, travelers relax when
they see their pets. We have one frequent traveler who goes nowhere
without Ben, her Cavalier King Charles spaniel. We also have
'empty nesters,' couples whose children are grown," Bulger adds. "Their
new 'children' are their pets." A self-professed animal lover,
Diana and husband Tom took their two "terrible terriers" Maggie
and Dodger, on their vacation to the Outer
Banks. Years ago, Diana traveled with her cat,
Barkley, and his litter box.
Gray, son of Todd & Ellen Gray of Equinox, with his dogs.
Likewise, the Ritz-Carlton
Georgetown provides each pet with a keepsake collar that
reads "Property of the Ritz-Carlton" along with dog bones,
comfy dog bed and a water bowl.
Hotel, also in Georgetown, accepts dogs 15 pounds and less,
and provides homemade dog biscuits and bottled water, along
with bowls and a doggie bed. The hotel will even make beef
patty birthday cakes and arrange for pet sitters.
river in Arlington, Potomac Suites Rosslyn provides treats,
special pet areas, maps to park and local trails, a list of important
phone numbers, such as veterinarians, emergency clinic, groomers,
and pet stores.
hotels include the Hay-Adams ( Lafayette Square); Loews
L'Enfant Plaza in Southwest, St. Regis Washington, and
the Willard Inter-Continental.
restauranteurs and hoteliers? Obviously, it's essential to know
and follow local health regulations. Needless to say, patrons'
pets should not be allowed to run loose. Then - roll with it!
Have bowls of fresh water on hand, and maybe a tidbit of steak
or shrimp. You want Fido's "person" to remain a loyal customer!