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May 6, 2008

Dog-friendly restaurants


I got this e-mail from Laura today:

I was wondering, have you ever done a Top Ten "Dog Friendly" restaurants?  I know places like Iggies are dog friendly.  Not sure how much the health dept likes that, so I'm not sure if it's something that should be advertised/promoted or not, but I'd love to know about any other restaurants in the area that allow dogs, even if it's simply outside seating. <

I was pretty sure about inside restaurants, but not so sure about the outdoor eating area, so I picked up the phone and called the Baltimore City Health Department. ...

I ended up talking to Bernard Bochenek, who is the director of environmental health. He confirmed what I suspected, that the only dogs allowed inside a restaurant are service animals, such as a seeing-eye dog. As for outside eating areas, "As long as they are controlled and not getting in the way of other customers or the food, they are allowed."

That still doesn't help Laura. If anyone has had good luck taking his or her dog out to lunch or dinner, please post below.

The photo is of Duke, who was banned from One-Eyed Mike's a couple of years ago. I found a story by Tricia Bishop in our archives about the issues raised. In it she reported:

While Parisians are known for taking their dogs everywhere - restaurants too - Baltimore is no Paris, and health professionals says there are some good reasons for prohibiting pets.

"There's always the issue of [fleas], feces, urine, shedding hair, that kind of thing and how would you control that," said Laura Hungerford, a professor of epidemiology and doctor of veterinary medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Prohibiting animals is done "not because pets carry disease, but just because it's gross."    

Most animal prohibition laws were written years ago with rats and other disease carriers in mind, rather than family pets, which today are part of more than 60 percent of households. Hungerford said the risk of getting sick from an animal is minimal, much smaller than catching something from another human, and that the main reason for banning dogs and the like has to do with behavioral issues and physical safety concerns.

(Elizabeth Malby/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:24 PM | | Comments (47)


Your Majesty, you truly know no fear. First screaming kids being defended (not by you, but in the blog) as having a right to be in restaurants and now you entertain the issue of off-leash pitbulls being well behaved and having a right to be in the restaurant, also. Oh, the entertainment value this will provide.

In our old neighborhood we often gathered together for picnics, crab feasts, etc. I was told that dogs were banned after one jumped up and bit a child who was eating a hot dog. Entertaining? Not to me!

If this discussion reaches the depths the children in restaurants string did, count me out.

Laura Hungerford stated: "There's always the issue of [fleas], feces, urine, shedding hair, that kind of thing and how would you control that..."

Yeah, that describes some bar patrons I've seen, but what about the dogs?

I wouldn't take my very food-oriented dog to a restaurant, but I see no reason that a well-behaved, leashed dog should be banned. I'd rather deal with a pit bull than a drunken softball team.

Kids are more unsightly and unsanitary than dogs. Or cats.

Don't tell me that it was just a cheese sandwich for lunch today! You have been fearlessly stepping out lately. Way to go, Elizabeth.

How about rat-friendly restaurants? Or monkey-friendly? Just because one is culturally cuter than another doesn't make them any less disease ridden. Yeah, and babies are disgusting too. Grow the f up people. How about schizophrenic-friendly restaurants? Good point about (drunken) soft ball teams. And please please please no more bachlorette parties ever. A crazy baby can only do so much damage compared to a crazy dog. Common sense you freaks. Oooooooh cute doggie, awwwwww Christ Almighty he chewed off my face!!!! Yeah. Exactly. There is no such thing as a well-behaved dog. They are wild animals that we have convinced to not kill us if we feed them and beat them. No such thing as wild babies. If they thought they could get away with it every single pet from a hamster to a parrot to a Jack Russell terrier to a gecko would murder us in our sleep and have a big old freakin party with our flesh for their friends.

We are but flesh for pets.

OMG, as Sam Jackson pointed out in Pulp Fiction, personality counts for something.

Okay, this is why having OMG back is a mixed blessing, IMHO anyway.

OMG, I hope you got some sleep. Your 12:33 am posting was a little agressive and it also put a picture in my mind that I'm trying very hard to get rid of.

I can't understand why I can't take my pekingnese with me everywhere. He's much better behaved than most kids--doesn't scream, cry, crawl all over the place or under the tables, or make a big mess he doesn't clean up. And he's much cuter besides. He thinks he's a person--that should count.

Pet-friendly restaurants. Babies in restaurants. People on cell phones in restaurants (and everywhere else). Americans today insist they have a right to do anything they damn well please. "I demand that you allow my dog to join me at my table at Ruth's Chris." Or "The hell with the comfort of those people at the next table, my 2-month-old twins are staying with me." Or, "Hi, Madge. You won't believe who I ran into here at the Charles Theatre." Or, "Kevin, do you take Scotty here to be your lawfully wedded husband?" Oops, I'll bet you a dozen Dunkin' Donuts that most of the dog and baby lovers won't agree to that last right.

My most excellent dog would be an asset to any dining establishment. Anyone else's tacky hound, mmmm... not so much...

Perhaps the scent of dog would keep the rodent population down?

Piano Rob, this dog lover will fight to her dying breath for Kevin's right to take Scotty as his husband. (As will most the dog lovers I know well.)

Piano Rob, my dog-loving friends and I will join Stacy in that battle!

But really, isn't everyone getting awfully worked up here? The original question merely asked what some dog friendly restaurants are. And since we know that dogs are only allowed outside even at dog-friendly restuarants, I wouldn't think that would impinge on the ability of the dog-averse to enjoy a perfectly lovely meal inside.

And now, after reading all this, I think I'll take my dog and go sit outside at Austin Grill in Canton for a margarita, which is an answer to the original question.

Let's address the original reason for this post, Dog friendly restaurants, or places that bend the rules...a touch...for man's best friend.

To clear up a few things...Yes, I'm a dog lover. Yes, my dog is better behaved than a lot of other bar/restaurant patrons I've encountered over the years. No, I don't think that my dog should be allowed in Charleston. No, I would not take my dog to a restaurant if he was not clean, well behaved, and basically the best dog in the world.

Now, that being said...We've found that in general, places with outdoor seating in Baltimore is okay with dogs, but places in Annapolis with outdoor seating are usually not dog friendly.

The other two things that we've found is that is more likely that dogs can go into bars that serve food, but very few full fledged restaurants are dog friendly. Also, while you might find a dog in an establishment, it doesn't mean that they are dog friendly. It might just mean that they have a very good patron who likes to bring his or her dog in every once in a while and the bar/restaurant is okay for that one customer.

Okay, now that those points have been established, there are a few, mostly South Baltimore, establishments that we have found as being dog friendly...and I think you'll see a theme here:
- Harvest Table (order inside and sit outside)
- Little Havana (on the patio)
- Rub (on the patio)
- City Cafe (outdoor tables)
- No Idea (I was there once and there were a few dogs in there...we haven't taken our dog, but I think that they would be okay with it when it's not peak hours)
- City Limits (again, be judicious about it)
- Dudas (outdoor tables)

The one place that used to be very dog friendly is the Thirsty Dog/Dog Pub. They have cut back on their allowance of dogs in their restaurant.

I'll be interested to see what other places readers of this blog have found to be dog friendly in other parts of the city.

Ok..let's see if we can actually help Laura out here. I only know of restaurants with outdoor seating where I've seen dogs hangin' with their owners. Here are a few that come to mind:

1) Donna's in Mt. Vernon
2) City Cafe
3) Austin Grill
4) The Greene Turtle - the one in Edgewater

Annapolis actually seems to be the very dog-friendly although I can't actually think of specific restaurants that allow dogs to be in the outdoor seating area. There tend to be a lot of water bowls set out on the sidewalks in front of stores and dog treats handed out liberally.

Prohibiting animals is done "not because pets carry disease, but just because it's gross." This is about as stupid a sentence as I've heard for a long time. As someone mentioned above, the vermin in restaurants carry way more disease than someone's pet dog does. And it's not gross to have an dog in a restaurant, they do it in many civilized European restaurants.

Her use of the word "gross" took it from an academic and scientific level to a personal level. "Oh My God! How gross, there's like a dog in here." What does she say about a service dog in a restaurant?

I was going for comically extreme. This medium is terrible for conveying tone. Plus all my firm beliefs are writtten in water.

I used to get my hair cut somewhere and the owner had a German shepherd there that freaked me out. Don't worry, he's friendly. Okay. Fast forward a year or two to when lovable Frtizy mauled the owner's face. So don't ask me to trust your lovable dog. I shouldn't have to take that risk. Are dogs in bars fun? Sure. Is that contradictory? Yes-No. Be your own pet.

The reason why service dogs are allowed in restaurants has nothing to do with the fact that they are (supposedly) better behaved. They are serving a purpose by allowing the disabled to integrate with the non-disabled in our society.

With that said, as far as the 'gross' factor is concerned, I am not sure I would be any happier with a service animal as opposed to say, Desiree's Pekingese. I have a disabled family member with a service dog. And yes, she is well behaved, but since her owner can't actually see that she needs a bath, she doesn't get bathed regularly. I'm sure she's not the exception. So, if the idea is that we don't allow dogs into restaurants because they are 'gross' I am not sure we are sidestepping that issue when allowing service dogs into restaurants.

So, I am not sure the argument is valid. Unless of course, they are basing their reasoning on sheer numbers. It's obvious there are fewer service animals than pets, thus the 'gross' factor is perhaps mitigated.

You're on a roll Piano Rob. Hey, I want to ride a zebra, but it's probably not going to happen.

Good post Piano Rob. There is something childish about Americans wanting everything all the time. What word am I looking for? Narcissistic, self-obsessed? Not sure. Now, I do need one point of clarification. I would most assurely object to Kevin and Scotty getting married if Scotty is an adorable terrier. Well, the same if Kevin is a terrier. If it's two dudes, then cool.

a few places to try:
kiss cafe in canton (they always bring a bowl of water out).
ray lewis' full moon bar-b-que (met a friend there for beers and bbq pork recently and everyone was so nice to my dog).
chesapeake wine co. in canton (good wine!)
soup's on in hampden (they have a little porch with tables outside)
duda's (great food. really nice to dogs)
peter's inn (outside seating allows dogs. if you've never had the filet mignon or tuna or anything else on the menu, you're missing out)
birches (again, outside seating allows dogs)
duclaw's (food is ok, but the beer is great and they've got a great view in fells pt at their outdoor seating)...
bonaparte's (ditto on the view, great bread, no beer)
those are just off the top of my head. we try to frequent as many places as possible that allow my dog to join me because it allows me to work a full day, come home and go out after work occasionally without feeling guilty about leaving my dog home again. i do, however, leave him home if we're going somewhere nice for dinner.
when my boston was a wee little pup, helen's garden used to let him sit at the bar and people would buy him a bowl of wine (tom and ed, the owners are great guys) until someone complained. ah. the good old days.
and... er... just in case you were wondering, i always drank the wine for buster. he's more of a beer dog than a wine dog.

Posting after midnight OMG? Did they take the breathalizer off your PC?

Top Ten places to get your pet drunk!

Terriermom: Thanks to you I did a Diet Pepsi spit-take and narrowly missed the keyboard - ROFL. Truth be told I borrowed the names Kevin and Scotty from Sunday's episode of "Brothers and Sisters." Yep, they're dudes.

But check out this website for Dog Wedding Cakes; they start at $140.

Last week our beagle and Tom had lunch at Pazza Luna. They sat outside and got wonderful service. The server brought the dog a wonderful bowl full of water.

Pet weddings are truly demented. I remember someone in Canton used to have a birthday party for her dog in the square. If you ever need formal wear for your dog or cat, check this out:

or this:

The whole psychology of people and their pets is interesting. Arf.

My sister threw a birthday party for her dog on Sunday, and all the neighborhood dogs attended. It will also be the last birthday party she has for her dog, since it was very bad and wouldn't let the other dogs eat any treats. He hogged them all.

I used to take Mr. Jefferson to Donna's at Mount Vernon, City Cafe, Tapas Teatro and B.

Since I moved, he doesn't dine out nearly as much. I don't think Donna's at Cross Keys would allow him on the balcony, and the same is true for the Mount Washington Tavern. I might be able to take him to some of places on Sulgrave, such as Desert Cafe or Ethel and Ramone's.

That cute pizza place in the 800 block of N. Calvert St. (I want to say Izzie's) has 3 cafe tables outside and a large water dish for canine customers. Plus, their salt and pepper shakers are funky cool.

Like Lissa, I have a "very food-oriented dog" who sees his function in life as being my official food taster. (Funny how he never wants me to taste his treats and dog chow.) If I took him to a restaurant, he'd probably try to pull his guilt-inducing, soulful-eyed staring/begging routine on all the other diners. Besides, frankly, I enjoy being able to eat all of my meal without sharing.

Piano Rob --- nice one on your blatant homophobia.

I think the notion of civil rights is a little more important that dining next to a canine in a restaurant, but I digress.

F, you sir are quite silly. If there if there is one thing that our long lost friend Piano Rob is not it is a homophobe. You need to read more carefully and look for nuances. Use your words.

If Piano Rob is a homophobe, than I'm a vegan.

Some people, so quick to be angry and start yelling.

It's a holiday weekend, F, go grab yourself a cosmo, a pabst blue ribbon or a Yoo-Hoo and relax.

RtSO would be proud, gentlemen, of your defense of one of our own. I think I speak for many when I say I miss Piano Rob. I hope all is well.

Oh, I saw Piano Rob's name in the teaser and thought he had come back to us--what a letdown. But you are very right in what you say, Trixie.

I just found Piano Rob's cartouche. Very clever:

|'|'| |'|'|'| | |

God, am I confused.

Bucky, you just came in late. Piano Rob was one of our original League of Roberts, and a sweet and funny guy. We miss him here. I'm sorry now that I didn't follow up when he angled for a dinner invitation.

Why do you think that wasn't actually Piano Rob? It's the same e-mail address, and I don't know how an imposter would get that. EL

Isn't PB"s comment a year old?

LEC - thanks. You cleared it up. I looked at the post last night and thought, Didn't this have a collie sitting ar a table this morning? Why is Mr. Old Fart back? nd, hey Piano Rob is back!

It's a post from a year ago.

Funny, I got caught, too, going back and forth between the two posts. (See my reply to Dahlink.) I thought he had commented on the recent post, and was glad to know he was OK. EL

And for what it is worth, if you go back and read Piano Rob's comment, the point he was making was that some people think it is their right to bring a dog or a baby into a restaurant but those very same people don't believe in the rights of others to marry.

I recently saw a bumper sticker than said something like "Can I vote on your marriage now?"

This post also features Dan Thahn from last year--someone else I miss. Anyone know what she is up to now?

And of course RtSO, right there at the top with a trenchant comment to get the ball rolling. I think of him every day.

This post got me too, I thought Piano Rob was back in the Sandbox.

Dahlink, for a guy I never met and only knew from his comments in this blog, I think of him a good bit as well.

First of all, you know if u have a dog that exudes any behavior less than stellar. That being said, in OMG case, that owner had seen something prior to that day that she knew was less than desirable. Owners who don't want to face the facts...they explain it away." oh, my he's NEVER done that before". Bull. I am sorry for you because, yes, there are wonderful dogs that certainly are more disciplined than humans. And yes I have a pit bull that is the ambassador for the breed. I take her everywhere i can. She is a blue pit and u can catch us anywhere in Canton and Fed Hill. You would be amazed. If owner want dogs to be allowed places then they too need to step u their game and KNOW how your dog is going to act and PLZ make sure they are clean. Grundge is offensive everywhere. Thx.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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