Let’s try this again – Patio Season 2015

I admit it. We suck. We failed last year. It just got so damned hot so quickly that we really didn’t take Roxanne to many patios at all. This year will be different! We promise.

Starting off, we’ve added and removed some restaurants from our map and list page. Sadly, a couple of dog-friendly restaurants have shut their doors; however, many more have opened to take their place.

So far this year, we’ve taken Roxanne to one of our new favorites: Diamond Bear Alehouse and our long-time neighbor, Dugan’s Pub (always! They’re right across the street). Both places are exceedingly canine friendly and will bring out water bowls without being asked.

Last night I had drinks with a couple of girlfriends on the patio of one of our newest additions, Samantha’s Tap Room and Wood Grill on Main Street in downtown Little Rock. We asked our very awesome waiter if their patio is dog friendly. He checked it out, and yes! They are! Meanwhile Marie Bruno, of Bruno’s Little Italy, stopped by to chat and we asked her about their patio, which is right next door to Samantha’s. She confirmed that dogs are more than welcome there as well.

YAY! More places to stop and grab a cold one and some delicious food with your beast. We’ll be taking Roxanne to check ’em out, so stay tuned.

2014 Patio Season!

Looks like we’ve gone from one of our coldest winters on record directly into summer, do not pass “go” do not collect $200… and that’s fine with us!

We had dinner last night on the patio at The Faded Rose and we can’t emphasize enough how absolutely dog friendly the folks there are. Roxanne loves their patio and the water they bring out for her; so did the cute basset hound who was sharing the place with us.

A few quick, but important, updates as we kick off 2014 Patio Season. Several restaurants have decided to no longer allow dogs on their patios. We’ve adjusted our map to reflect these policy changes. The affected restaurants are Big Orange (both locations), Local Lime, and Bravo! Cucina Italiano. If you are aware of any places on the list that have changed their policies (or that we’ve inadvertently left off), please let us know.

Want some pizza?

So, if you’ve been following along at home since July, I’m sure you guys have read about the changes at U.S. Pizza Company resulting in their prohibiting dogs on all of their restaurant patios. I’m so excited about this news that I’m not even going to bury the lede and tease you. Short version: You can, once again, bring your pups to the patios at U.S. Pizza! (I’d like to make that sentence flashy and blinky, but this is WordPress, not GeoCities. Plus, I’m not that tacky.)

Longer version: Derek Smith, an area director for the restaurant, responded to a couple of comments to the August 26th post on the InArkansas blog. He and I corresponded, first through Twitter and then via email, about the situation (I love social media, in case you haven’t realized that yet). I also exchanged additional email with the Arkansas Department of Health.

What is abundantly clear is that U.S. Pizza was simply following the ADH regulation stating that only service dogs are permitted in dining establishments; they didn’t want to run afoul of the ADH (And, really, who can blame them? They haven’t been in business for 40+ years for nothin’.).

Bottom line, all restaurants in Arkansas that have outdoor seating can apply for a variance from the regulation. Last week, Derek applied for, and received on Thursday, a variance, which you can see here — US Pizza Dog Friendly patio approval letter. You can also see the guidelines that are clearly outlined, making dog-friendly restaurants safe for everyone.

Now that it’s nearing Fall, I’m absolutely thrilled that we can, once again, frequent the patio at U.S. Pizza with Roxanne. I hope you’ll join us in thanking the restaurant with your dining dollars for their diligence in rectifying the situation. I was really getting desperate for a salad supreme with ham (no onions, green peppers or mushrooms, please; house dressing), a pepperoni and anchovy pie, and some of the coldest beer in town.  Thanks, Derek; thanks U.S. Pizza; and thanks Arkansas Department of Health!

So many restaurants, so little time!

Work travel has been kicking my butt lately, so my apologies for the lack of posts. We have a lot to catch up on and a ton of places to go get your eat and drink on, so let’s get started!

First, a quick update on U.S. Pizza-gate. Despite repeated attempts by us and others to make their management aware that the Arkansas Department of Health does, indeed, permit dogs on restaurant patios, U.S. Pizza still has signs up indicating that dogs are prohibited due to ADH regulations.

It appears that they decided to change their house rules, which of course is their prerogative; however, it’s unfortunate that they continue to use the ADH as a scapegoat instead of having the integrity to simply say they’ve changed their policy. I’d have more respect (and pizza and beer dollars) for them if they made that one change to the signs. No matter, though, there are plenty of other Central Arkansas restaurants with patios that welcome your pups, so let’s get to it.

RestMonth273x181As I’m sure you’ve already heard, August is “Savor the City,” Little Rock’s restaurant month. Yes, I know August is almost over (!!), but you can still get some great deals at local digs. The weather has been absolutely, and unusually, perfect for mid-August, so get to a patio ASAP!

Drop by and sample the offerings at some of our dog-friendly favorites. And don’t miss the dog special at Trio’s! They know how to do it up right.

  • Big Whiskey’s* – $2 off any burger
  • Bravo! Cucina Italiano – Bravo Hour! $5 drink specials and $3.95 appetizers Monday-Friday, 3-7 p.m.
  • Browning’s Mexican Grill – Lunch Special – Browning’s Duo for $6.99
  • Buffalo Grill (note: In case you haven’t heard, the West Little Rock location is no longer… Riverdale’s the only Buffalo Grill left.) – Mahi Mahi Salad $8.99
  • Community Bakery in SoMa – $1 off Iced Coffee, Iced Latte, Espresso Frappe, Espresso Milkshake, Fruit Smoothie
  • Leo’s Greek Castle – Free baklava with purchase of a gyro platter after 5 p.m.
  • The Purple Cow– Free scoop of ice cream with purchase of entrée (Limit one per table)
  • Red Door Restaurant (note: Only the patio that faces Cantrell Rd. is dog friendly.) – Mon: Apps ½ price With entrée; Tues: Wine Night- ½ off all wine under $28 a bottle; Wed: Filet Night: 7 oz. Angus Tenderloin Filet $16.95; Thurs: Ladies Special Happy Hour: $2 domestic beer, $4 margaritas, martinis, wine & cosmos
  • Revolution Restaurant – Lunch Special: Choice of Seasoned Beef, Shredded Chicken or Fish Tacos (grilled, blackened or fried), chips & salsa and soft drink $7.99
  • The Root Cafe – Weekday Breakfast Special: Take 20% off your breakfast entree (Tues-Fri 7-11 a.m.)
  • Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack – Lunch Special: Four hand-cut chicken fingers in 12 different varieties, choice of baked potato soup or chicken & sausage gumbo, two dipping sauces and a soft drink for $7.99
  • The Tavern Sports Grill – New menu by Chef Donnie Ferneau, plus $1 off drinks and $2.50 domestic pints from 3-7 p.m. On Thursday night; $10 buckets, $8 PBR buckets, $2.50 domestic pints all night
  • Thirst n’ Howl – 10% off any burger Tues-Thurs
  • Trio’s – Half off dessert with your purchase of an entrée at lunch, dinner and brunch. And check out their Dog Days of Summer promotion – Trio’s has partnered with Hollywood Feed across the street on Cantrell to offer a free Doggy Goodie Bag for pups dining on their patio.

You can also grab some great deals across the river in North Little Rock starting today. Argenta Restaurant Week runs from August 19-24. Restaurants are offering special $8 two-course lunch menus and $25 three-course dinner menus along with their regular menus. Drop by the following dog-friendly restaurants:

* As an aside, hey, Big Whiskey’s, why haven’t you added Little Rock to the list of locations on your website? You’ve been in business here for several years. Perplexing.

Happy Friday! Here, have some good news!

Thanks to a bit of outstanding legwork by our blog friend, Fran Hickman, we’ve confirmed that dogs are NOT prohibited on restaurant patios, as previously reported. After reading our post on Wednesday, Fran contacted the Arkansas Department of Health for more information. According an email she received from Robert Brech, Office of General Counsel at the Arkansas Department of Health, and Teresa Vela, Section Chief of the Food Protection Program at ADH:

…we do not typically prohibit dogs on the patio. So, unless there is something unique in this situation, it would not be prohibited.

Additionally, we heard from several dog-friendly restaurant owners who also called the ADH for clarification and were told the same thing. Capi Peck, co-owner of Trio’s Restaurant, contacted the director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association who spoke with an ADH attorney. The attorney confirmed that the health department is not going to “go after” restaurant owners who have patios that allow dogs, which is a very good thing considering the patio at Trio’s has been dog friendly for nearly 27 years.

ComplaintHowever, there is clearly confusion among department employees when it comes to this rule. We requested a copy of the complaint that was made against U.S. Pizza Company (this is all publicly available information, but we chose to remove the complainant’s name and phone number). As you can see, the way the rule is currently written is pretty ambiguous and leaves room for interpretation by inspectors, which is exactly what appears to have happened in this situation.

This does serve as an excellent reminder of some basic rules of the road when you’re dining with your dogs, though:

  • Keep your dog on a leash and under your control at all times
  • Never allow your dog on restaurant chairs, tables, or other furnishings
  • Never allow your dog to lick or touch dishes or utensils (EW!)
  • If possible, bring your own water bowl
  • If your dog’s being a jerk you should leave
  • And, I’m sure this one goes without saying, but always clean up after your pup

So, bullet dodged. Get out to a patio this weekend, kids!

BREAKING NEWS: Arkansas Department of Health Enforcing Ban of Dogs on Patios

exclamation-pointI was pointed by our reader, Jennifer B., to a post on U.S. Pizza’s Facebook wall this afternoon indicating that the Arkansas Department of Health is now forbidding them from permitting dogs on their patios because it’s deemed “a health department violation.” Have a look. This enforcement is about to impact dozens of local restaurants and hotels, with an even bigger blow to central Arkansas as a tourist destination.

We’d like for you to join forces with us at Dog Friendly Little Rock in a social and traditional media campaign to change this antiquated and baseless rule. Houston, L.A., and Santa Barbara have recently changed their health department regulations; Little Rock needs to lead the pack here in Arkansas. We’ve dined on many of our favorite restaurant patios with Roxanne, and would love the support.

In the next few days, we’ll be creating a petition, a press release for local media, a Twitter hashtag and pre-written tweets, among other mechanisms to help foster change. So, watch this space, as well as our Facebook page for further updates.


Beauty and the Beast

Little Rock radio station Alice 107.7 and What’s Waggin’ magazine are sponsoring a beast of a beauty contest. Nine dogs who currently reside at the Pulaski County Humane Society are in the running for a total salon makeover, and you’re invited to vote for your favorite.

The winners will be revealed at The Dog Bowl in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center on July 27th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around for the pooch parade, lookalike contest, and many vendor booths. We’ll definitely be there; you should be too!

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To place your vote, select your favorite by number, and email your choice to doggiemakeover@alice1077.com.

Independence Day Shenanigans

So, hey… whatcha doin’ on the 4th? Having friends and fam over for a barbecue? Heading out for a picnic and some fireworks? Here’s a suggestion for an event that welcomes your pups (and doesn’t involve fireworks for the skittish ones). An important note: Dogs are NOT allowed at Pops on the River at the River Market, so don’t try to take them there.

Best Impressions4th of July Cookout at Best Impressions (the restaurant at the Arkansas Arts Center)

Grab some grub and beer from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. For $12 for adults and $7 for kids, you can get your choice of of a burger, brat, hot dog or chicken breast, grilled to order. The accoutrement buffet includes condiments, baked beans, potato salad, dessert and your choice of tea or lemonade.

Draft Beer $2
Soft Drinks $2.25
Bottled Beer $3
Wine $4

Their regular menu will NOT be available for cookout celebration, but guess what? Your four-legged friend is welcome on their patio and when you’re done feeding your face, you can head over to the dog park.

This was a new restaurant to add to our dining map, so thanks to our friend Ashli for bringing it to our attention!

Let us know below in the comments if you’re aware of any other local celebrations or events that permit dogs. We’ll be happy to update the post to feature them!

Quick Update

We wanted to share a couple of new features on the site that we’re working on. First is the interactive map showing the restaurants that have and do not have dog friendly patios. We hope you’ll find this more helpful than the previous lists we had.

The second feature is a calendar that we hope to frequently update with your help. We’ve requested to be added to most major animal non-profits’ press release list so we can be in-the-know ASAP, but if you’re aware of an upcoming even, please let us know so we can share with our other readers. Thanks!

Also, if you’re out and about Sunday afternoon and want to have a quick photoshoot of you and your pup, be sure to make a reservation with Jacob Slaton. Read all about his Field Day and sign yourselves up.

Stay tuned for more patio updates!

Your opinion, please

I was just pointed to this Slate article focused on dogs in public places that came out on May 9th and I’d like my readers’ opinions in the comments section. So as not to skew the results, I’ll withhold my own for the moment. I’ve received several insightful comments on our Facebook page, too. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say. So have at it!

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