June 20, 2011
Dining Out with Your Dog
Hot spots in Wisconsin where you and your pet are both invited.
Travelling with your pet in tow this summer? The beauty of vacationing in Wisconsin is that there are so many ways to enjoy this treasured time off. Some thrive on the thrill of camping, while others opt for a relaxing stay at a posh resort. With all the hot spots you’ll be visiting, you’re bound to get the munchies along the way. This doesn’t mean you have to leave Fido in the hotel or cabin. As a matter of fact, most innkeepers will not allow you to leave your pet unattended.
Fortunately, Wisconsin restaurateurs are realizing that where there’s family, there’s a dog. And where there’s a dog, let there be food. To make sure you and your pooch are formidable dinner companions, we’ve captured a few Wisconsin eateries where canine and human appetites will both be satisfied.
If your car is headed true north, you’re one lucky dog. Door County is a favorite place for pets to tag along. Dogs are allowed (on leash) at all parks, some beaches and select picnic areas. When the sun goes down, head to Harbor Fish Market & Grille to enjoy waterfront outdoor seating and a doggie menu for your buddy. Fluffy can feast on menu items like “Bob’s Hound Dog Heaven” (a simple beef patty), “Stately’s Meaty Scramble” (diced pit ham with two scrambled eggs) or “Sterling’s Doggie Kibble” (tastes suspiciously like dog food). Plate prices range from $2.50 to $3.95, so it’s a pretty cheap date. For dessert, trot over to Not Licked Yet, a Door County classic destination point. The Door County Humane Society reports that canine customers accompanied by their humans are entitled to a “puppy custard” cone. While you’re wolfing down a cherry caramel sundae, your pet is satisfying his sweet tooth as well.
True, dogs aren’t allowed on the waterslides, but they are permitted at Gilly’s Island. Enjoy a sandwich at one of the cozy tables near the sidewalk with your dog by your side. This downtown eatery also features an outdoor beer garden in the back. Your pooch can gaze wistfully at you as you gulp German brew out of a boot-shaped glass.
When school’s out, head to Madison, a city that invites dogs and their humans to soak up the sun at every corner. Shop ‘til you drop at Bad Dog Frida, a local pet store oozing with atmosphere. A few steps away is the Green Owl Café, Madison’s only vegetarian restaurant. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed to join you on the patio. For those seeking relief from the heat after a day on the trails, slow your pace at Café Zoma. You can leash your dog to one of several metal posts in their big backyard. As manager Rachel Dolnick explains, “We’re right off of a popular bike path, so we get lots of dogs who join their customers here”. You’ll cool off with an iced latte; your pooch will be guzzling cold water, readily available.
There’s no better place to enjoy your morning cappuccino than with your dog nearby, at Alterra Café at the Lake on Lincoln Memorial Drive. Dogs are allowed at the outdoor tables (summer months only). Perfect for people-watching or pooch-watching, depending on who’s doing the gawking.
Out-of-towners and Milwaukee “staycationers” will love lodging at The Iron Horse Hotel, where four-legged guests are treated like royalty. An in-room doggy dining menu, front desk water dish, and their name on the lobby room chalk board will make you and your pup feel like jumping on the bed.
As your pack your sunscreen and slip on your flip-flops, rest assured that your dog will be happy to know that dining out this summer doesn’t have to leave him in the dust. So grab your keys, make a reservation and take your best friend out to dinner tonight. But don’t forget to tip your waiter.
Colleen Terry lives in Waukesha with her husband Paul. They are owned by two ambitious Cocker Spaniels, Oliver and Carmen. When she’s not writing for Fetch Magazine, she’s writing the “fairy tale” of people and their pets at Douglass Avenue Dog Tales. You can reach Colleen at douglassavenue.com.