Tail Waggin' Fun: Chicagoland restaurants that welcome Fido
BY JENNIFER MIFFLIN & SUZANNE C. WITT For Sun-Times Media
DON'T FORGET FIDO
Bull & Bear
431 N. Wells St.
Info: Dogs treats, water bowls; pet-friendly patio with 13 tables
Chicks ‘n Salsa Mexican Grill
874 Roosevelt Rd.
(630) 790 -1100
Info: six outdoor tables; any size leashed dog; Paul Newman organic treats and water
1830 45th Ave.
Info: half and full-daycare; boarding services
Egg Harbor Café
125 Lake St.
Info: Doggie dining menu; nine patio tables
It's Greek to Me
13119 S. LaGrange Rd.
Info: Pet-friendly fenced-in patio; water dish
O'Brien's Restaurant & Bar
1528 N. Wells St.
Info: Front sidewalk pet-friendly; 15 tables; fresh bowls of water
20 W. Algonquin Rd.
Info: Dogs welcome on patio; water and dog treats
200 W. 8th St.
Info: nine patio tables; Yappetizer menu; items served on Public Landing Frisbee
70 S. LaGrange Rd.
Info: 20 pet-friendly patio tables; Bark-B-Q menu
Quigley's Irish Pub
43 E. Jefferson St.
Info: 20 patio tables; water and treats; dogs should be leashed, up-to-date shots
Quince at The Homestead
1625 Hinman Ave.
Info: six patio tables; dogs should be leashed; water bowls
Ray's Evergreen Tavern
1400 W. Main St.
Info: Dogs must be well behaved and leashed to sit on patio; water bowls
The Four Treys Bar
3333 N. Damen Ave.
Info: 20 years of dogs; water bowls and dog treats
The Kelsey Road House
352 Kelsey Rd.
Info: three-and-a-half acres right outside patio for dogs
The Port Drive-In
419 N. Calumet Rd.
Info: four picnic tables; dogs always welcome
Reports from the annual Global Pet Show held in Orlando and the International Home & Housewares Show held in Chicago revealed robust support from retailers and suppliers. The American Pet Products Association estimates we will spend $52.87 billion this year on pets. Pet owners are not only investing monetary resources but are also investing time, personal attention and training.
Alex Urbanski, dog trainer and behaviorist at See Spot Run in Chicago, said some people see their pets as an integral part of family, and they want to spend as much time with them as possible. Many Chicagoland and suburban eateries are echoing this mentality by fostering canine-friendly environments that cater to both bipedal and four-legged patrons.
“People who consider a pet to be part of the family want to spend a lot of time together. Unfortunately, some dogs have a very small world that includes little more than the house, backyard and the vet’s office. Exposing your dog to new smells, sites, people and other dogs is so good for your pet. It expands its life and provides mental stimulation and socialization,” said Urbanski, who also does private lessons in the suburbs.
Bringing a dog to an eatery or bar enhances the pet parents’ experience.
“Dogs are better behaved when they are exercised, socialized and mentally stimulated,” Urbanski continued. “Dogs are pack animals and crave companionship with their human pack. They can get crazy when left alone for long periods of time. That’s why your dogs will give you an overzealous ‘where have you been; tell me everything’ greeting.”
Port Edward Restaurant, 20 W. Algonquin Rd., Algonquin, dedicates Tuesday and Thursdays from 5 p.m. until dusk to pets. Twenty percent of proceeds from the night go to various shelters or societies.
“One time, we had a Greyhound rescue, and the dogs were wearing sweater vests. Diners were placing cash in their pockets as they walked around,” said general manager, Karen Brim.
Outdoor dining has been a huge hit with all — dogs, owners and fellow customers — and is open May until September or October, weather permitting.
“We came up with the idea because our customers wanted it,” Brim said.
Dogs receive water and dog bones. Sometimes an owner will even treat them to a menu item.
“We’ve never had a problem. The dogs bring so much joy,” she said.
Bull & Bear, 431 N. Wells St., Chicago, provides 13 tables on its outdoor pet-friendly patio.
“It’s something we’ve offered for three years,” said Michele Burnett, catering and events manager.
Guests wanted this service, and it was a natural fit for this bar and grill that is always looking to add new things.
“When we found out we could apply for a license, it was something we very much wanted to do,” Burnett said.
Dog treats and complimentary bowls are on-hand to keep hounds happy.
“All sizes of dogs are welcome,” Burnett said. “We’ve never had an issue, and customers seem to enjoy having them on-site.”
At O’Brien’s Restaurant & Bar, 1528 N. Wells St., Chicago, the front sidewalk is a dog lover’s refuge. For more than six years, the restaurant has offered 15 tables that patrons can enjoy with their furry friends at their feet.
“Dogs are very welcome at O’Brien’s,” said manager Bill Bergthold.
The restaurant owner, who is also has a pet, and the city council, that encouraged eateries to offer a European flair by allowing dogs outside, inspired the idea.
“This definitely is a rising trend with our customers,” Berthold said.
From May to September or October, O’Brien’s offers leashed dogs a bowl of fresh water while their owners dine.
“The majority of dogs we see are small to medium but all breeds are welcome as long as they’re well-behaved,” Bergthold said.
The Four Treys Bar, 3333 N. Damen Ave., Chicago, has been dog friendly for 20 years, according to bartender Jeanine Richard.
“Our owner is a dog-lover, owns dogs and brings them in sometimes to partake in the atmosphere,” she said.
Canine companions are free to come and go as they please except for Saturdays from 7 p.m. on because karaoke draws in a crowd.
“Allowing dogs in the bar draws people in, and everyone is very receptive to it,” Richard said. “People who work all day and own a dog are more receptive to heading out for a drink when they know they can bring their pet.”
The bar is stocked with water bowls and treats for their furry friends.
“We encourage customers to have their dogs on a leash but, as long as they’re social, they are free to walk around.”
Quince at the Homestead, 1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, started allowing dogs on its outdoor patio last year. Tina Warnke, managing partner, said it’s an incentive for customers to bring their canines.
“Dogs are our companions so it is a natural progression for them to accompany their owners,” she said. “We provide fresh bowls of water to make dogs as comfortable as we can.”
The patio boasts six tables, and dogs must be leashed.
“Any type of dog is welcome as long as he or she is socialized and gets along with everyone,” Warnke said.
Chicks n’ Salsa Mexican Grill, 874 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn, keeps Paul Newman’s organic dog treats on-hand and fresh bowls of water for the canine crowd.
With six outdoor tables that seat four, dogs and their owners can settle in and enjoy the warmth and sunshine of summer.
“Any size dog is allowed,” said owner, Cindy Degen. “I am a huge dog lover and am an active supporter of the Humane Society of DuPage.”
Dogs must be socialized and leashed when visiting the patio.
“People who come in like to buy our fire-grilled chicken dinner to bring home to their dogs,” she said.
The Port Drive-In, 419 N. Calumet Rd., Chesterton, is a friendly, feel-good place where dogs are more than welcomed; they’re expected.
“Customers bring their dogs all the time for an ice cream cone or they order off the menu. We’ve never discouraged it,” said owner, Beth Gassoway.
Four outdoor picnic tables encourage patrons and their pets to linger.
Because the beach is nearby, people oftentimes take their dogs for a walk and make a quick stop for a treat.
“Because more people have pets, it’s a plus they can bring them with to a place like ours,” Gassoway said.
Some establishments are designed exclusively for puppy love. Dogtopia, 1830 45th Ave., Munster, not only provides daycare for dogs; it also offers full grooming, bath, nails and boarding services.
“There was nothing like this in Indiana. And I definitely saw a need,” said owner, Marcia Autry, who owns three rescue dogs.
With 6,400 square feet, Dogtopia provides enough room for dogs to run, jump and play. Dogs can begin arriving at 7 a.m. and enjoy open play until noon. From noon to 2 p.m., they nap in their crates and, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., it’s back out for more play until they are picked up.
Playrooms have rubber floors and web cams, and the outdoor area is completely fenced in. Rescue dogs receive their first day of daycare free.
“We also have a self-serve washing area where we supply everything; you just bring yourself and your dog,” Autry said.
As an added convenience, the business is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays for boarding dogs only.
“We host doggie washes, which support our charity of choice, The Humane Society of Calumet, and actively do our part to give back to the canine community,” she said.
Q BBQ, 70 S. LaGrange Rd., LaGrange, offers 20 tables on the patio for diners and their pooches.
“All dogs are welcome, “ said Valerie Kopjo, manager. “We see everything from Teacup Chihuahuas that share the laps of their owners to Bernese Mountain Dogs.”
The special Bark-B-Q menu — a savory blend of smoked pulled chicken and chopped carrots — doesn’t leave canines complaining.
“We noticed people feeding some of their ribs and brisket plates to their dogs who loved the food. So it seemed natural to create a menu especially for them,” Kopjo said.
Q BBQ’s pet-friendly owner oftentimes brings his dog to the office. In fact, the Chompers Chocolate Chip cookies are named in his honor.
“Customers and dogs alike love the pet-friendly patio. The dogs are very well behaved … sometimes better than the humans!” she said.
The restaurant also has worked in conjunction with The Barker Shop, LaGrange, by donating funds to help get their shelter up and running.
The Kelsey Road House, 352 Kelsey Rd., Lake Barrington, boasts a beer garden, screened-in patio and three-and-a-half acres perfect for pets.
“We love dogs here. Everyone is a dog lover,” said owner, Beverly Langer.
What used to be a weed pile now has 936 perennials and a lovely view.
Dogs visiting the eatery should be leashed. Fresh water and ample TLC are provided.
Egg Harbor Café, 125 Lake St., Libertyville, opens its patio to pooches from May through September (roughly), according to general manager, Carol Michelsen.
“We offer a special doggie dining menu that is checked over by a veterinarian for its nutritional content,” she said.
The idea came from the owners, dog-lovers themselves, who observed a dog-friendly component to many eateries in Georgia while on vacation. They were confident they could make the concept work back home.
“Our most popular canine offerings are the Chicken and Spuds (boneless, skinless diced chicken atop shredded potatoes) and the Good Boy Charlie (scrambled eggs, a dry English muffin and bacon),” Michelsen noted.
With nine patio tables, Egg Harbor gives hounds enough room to frolic.
“We’ve never had a problem; the dogs get along great,” she said.
In addition to the menu, the restaurant participates in Libertyville’s Dogs Days of Summer, offers a 10 percent dining discount via a printable web coupon and supports As Good as Gold, a Golden Retriever rescue organization.
Public Landing, 200 W. 8th St., Lockport, actually caters to dogs first when they arrive with their owners.
“This is our third year allowing dogs on the patio and honestly, there’s no better place to have your pet,” said owner/manager, Dan Senese.
The Yappetizers menu features a Quarter Hounder, a quarter-pound of antibiotic- and hormone-free all-natural ground beef; Hen House Chicken Strips, grilled and sliced boneless chicken breast; Hot Diggity Dog, two sliced all-beef dogs; Eggs Rover Easy, two scrambled eggs; and the Good Dog, grilled and sliced rib-eye steak. Entrees come with a dog biscuit, carrot chips and a bowl of purified water, and they are served on a Public Landing Frisbee. Fifty percent of Yappetizers menu sales are donated to local animal shelters.
“Patrons love this experience. All sizes are welcome, from Yorkies to Mastiffs,” Senese said. “We just ask your dog be well behaved and on a leash.”
Additionally, the restaurant teams up with a local shelter in July each year and hosts an adopt-a-thon for five to six dogs.
“Last year, we raised $1,000,” he said.
Quigley’s Irish Pub, 43 E. Jefferson St., Naperville, always has a water container, dog bowls and treats ready for their canine crowd, said manager, Andy Nosek.
With 20 patio tables available, dogs and their human counterparts can enjoy warm temps and camaraderie all summer long.
Nancy Quigley, owner, is a big dog fan. In fact, her newest canine, Charlie, is part of the pet assisted therapy program at Edward Hospital.
“People even order off the menu for their pets,” Nosek said. “We have mini Angus burgers as an appetizer and they often are requested without buns or pickles.”
When spending time on the patio, dogs must be leashed and up-to-date on shots.
“We don’t have a ton of rules,” she said. “It’s a relaxing environment and a plus for pets and their owners.”
It’s Greek to Me, 13119 S. LaGrange Rd., Orland Park, has welcomed dogs since the day it opened its doors. With a fenced-in patio, any size breed is permissible, as long as the animal is sociable.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in foot traffic because of our pet-friendly patio,” said server Mary Ann Szudy.
Water dishes are provided, and owners can order off the authentic menu for their pets if they so desire. Greek sausage and chicken are two popular picks.
“We’ve held parties and animal fundraisers in the past,” she said. “Our owners are pet enthusiasts, and we lend our support however we can.”
Ray’s Evergreen Tavern, 1400 W. Main St., St. Charles, has welcomed dogs on the patio for the past three years, and patrons wholeheartedly embrace the concept.
“We have special water dishes for the dogs,” said manager, Melanie Hesenflow.
Sometimes people treat their pooch by ordering mini-hamburgers off the menu.
The only requirement is that dogs are leashed and well behaved.
“People will call and ask if it’s okay to bring their dogs,” she said. “We tell them absolutely.”
Are you a little apprehensive on how Fluffy will act in public? Urbanski said you could do some things to set your dog up for success.
“Like our children, we want our dogs to behave well,” Urbanski said. “One of the best things you can do is exercise your dog prior to any outing. This will alleviate any pent-up energy and tire it out both physically and mentally. It just puts your dog in a better frame of mind. A tired dog is less likely to overact to certain stimuli.”
Once your pup settles in, reward it for good behavior with attention or treats. And above all, pay attention to your dog.
“It’s common sense, but you always have to keep a watchful eye on your dog — even the best trained, most well-behaved ones,” Urbanski said. “The more you take your dog places, the more comfortable you both will become. It’s actually a confidence booster for both owners and their dogs. And everyone has a great time.”