To The Barkery!

Otherwise entitled: THIS is how you make a great idea work.

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this post. I really wanted my pictures, but they refuse to leave the camera. Never fear, I’ve stolen some from my husband and asked for help from other people, so we should get through this just fine.

To answer your first question: Yes, it’s a BARKery, not a bakery. In fact, it’s Hamilton, Ontario’s first dog/pet-friendly restaurant!

To answer your second question (which I assume is, “come again?”), yes, pets are welcome. If you’re out for a walk with your dog and you’re in need of a coffee, or if your furry friend looks like he needs some frozen treats made just for dogs, you can both mosey on in.

Pet of the Month photo, yoinked with permission from Munchies' Facebook page. :)

Pet of the Month photo, yoinked with permission from Munchies’ Facebook page. 🙂

Do you have visions of cat hair in your coffee? I know that was my first thought when I heard about this concept, but it’s not an issue. The owners had to jump through hoops of fire to please the health inspectors, but they worked everything out, and food safety is a big deal here. The food is prepared and served in a glassed-in, pet-free area (see photo above- the dog’s in the sitting area). The cook/server puts the tray on the counter for the customer to pick up rather than handing it over, because apparently this makes it safer. The ceilings are made of non-porous materials.

Like I said, ALL of the hoops.

The eating area is cozy and comfortable, with arm chairs for sitting and chatting, or cafe tables for anyone interested in a proper meal. There’s a stage in the corner where the performers come for music nights, and an entire wall is filled with high-quality tricks and treats for cats and dogs (as well as a fridge full of raw food for dogs).

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Some crazy kids enjoying lunch on the stage

The ordering/cooking/serving area, on the other side of the glass wall and door, is filled with tempting treats and the smell of a variety of amazing (fair trade, organic) coffees. The menu covers the top of one wall: all-day breakfast and lunch options plus pastries, salads, and fresh home-made lemonade, lattes and turkish coffee. The counter is a delicious sea of baklava, “magic bars,” butter tarts, muffins and brownies and danishes and… well, it’s probably a good thing I don’t live in the neighborhood. Plenty of vegan options, too.

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AJ’s lunch. He just barely managed to stop eating long enough to take a picture for me!

Photo courtesy of Munchies

Photo courtesy of Munchies

Can any animals come in? As far as I know, yes, though I don’t think anyone has tried to bring in an ostrich or a buffalo yet. We met a lovely old Siamese cat named Angus on one of our visits, a pair of massive Leonbergers, and a dog named Doomageddon, which may be the greatest name ever given to a dog. Apparently we missed a corn snake one day, and they usually have a rabbit living there, on loan from a pet rescue organization and available for adoption.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? And yet it works. Part of the reason things run so smoothly is the rules. All pets must be leashed, and anyone who’s being intrusive, unfriendly, or messy will be asked to leave. If a dog is acting up, they’ll recommend going for a nice, relaxing (or exhausting) walk before you come in.

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Actually, I think a lot of bars could use these rules.

The other reason this whole thing works is the owners. Rosie and Gary are kind, warm, wonderful people. Everyone is welcome and made to feel at home at Munchies. Have questions about the facilities or the menu? Ask away. Want to hang around for a while with your friends? Go ahead, you’ll find some games in the sitting area, and there’s a nice, puffy bed for your dog to lie on. Dog has nasty fish breath? Rosie can probably recommend a natural product to help with that, and if they don’t have it in, she’ll see about ordering it. Need a birthday cake to share with your dog? Just give ’em enough notice, they’ll make sure everyone’s tail is wagging on the big day.

Most of you probably won’t get a chance to visit Munchies, unless you’re already living in Hamilton. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, though, it’s worth stopping by 1000 Upper Gage Avenue (aka the Goodness Me plaza). I highly recommend Munchies’ baklava. And the light roast coffee. And the magic bars. And the BLT. And our dog loves the elk antler we brought home for him. And…

This is Lilly. Lilly ikes Munchies. Lilly would also like some of your sandwich, thank you.

This is Lilly. Lilly likes Munchies. Lilly would also like some of your sandwich, thank you.

Want more info?

Urbanspoon reviews

Blog post from Hungry Hammer Girl

Munchies Facebook page

Did I mention the Baklava?

Did I mention the Baklava?

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About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

16 responses to “To The Barkery!

  • Charles Yallowitz

    I don’t have pets, but that sounds like a nice niche that was filled. Very ingenious.

  • wendyalowden

    LET’S HEAR IT FOR MUNCHIES!!!! Gary and Rosie are now honourary Lowdens, along with Bella and Hunter, and we love them! Add theWORLD’S BEST BACLAVA along with Rosie’s coffee (the only coffee I’ll drink a whole cup of), and Lilly enjoying herself, and you can see why we love it…and I love that you loved it so much too!
    The only thing I didn’t see in your post (and I apologize if it is there), is that there are a few tables available in the food prep area for those who really just want to come in and have a coffee and food without meeting the neighbourhood menagerie. They thought of everything!! Hmmmm…I think I had better drop in soon….missing them.

    • Kate Sparkes

      Good point. And the coffee is definitely worth going in for, even if you don’t want to hang out with the animals (if they’re there- I don’t think there were any on our first visit). I love the tall glasses they serve hot coffee in.

      • rosie

        Thanks SO much for your kind words. I know that things get busy for us Mothers this time of year.
        We couldn’t get enough of you guys when you were in town… You’re just going to have to make it more of a habit I guess 😉 (wink, wink, nudge, nudge…. cough… Stoney Creek!)
        When will you return???
        Miss you guys! You MUST post pics of your puppy and the Elk Antler… We await them on our fb page.
        Take care and thx again
        G&R

    • rosie

      Luv u too Lowden Lady! We always miss you around Munchies. See you soon!
      XO~Ro

  • evilsquirrel13

    So any animal is welcome? Cool! Watch all these dogs go nuts when this squirrel walks in! 😉

  • Kathy Dunlavey

    GO MUNCHIES!! Not only are the owners amazing, the establishment clean, welcoming, and well run, but the Baklava is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!:):). Where else can you stop in with your pet for a cup I coffee, dessert, or even a full meal, and know your dog/cat/rabbit/whatever, is also welcome and provided with food and comfort? Love the idea, love the owners…I foresee that they may not be in only one location for long!!

  • Lynda hixson

    Munchies is the BEST place in the world to go with you puppy or cat ….all of mine have visited and Rory highly recommends the Yam Yumyums ……he likes to share them with Daisy ……he has an eye for a pretty girl. Rosie and Gary are such GREAT folks …….I just don’t have enough time to get there as often as I like …..the apple thingys are too wonderful and I am now getting my friends asking for them …….I am glad that Hamilton is on the cutting edge and as my pup or two are with me alot it is great to have a friendly warm and welcoming place to visit …..plus they have Hewitts Ice Cream …..grape and orange pineapple …..oh and try the lemonades …….the strawberry and mango were a hit with my son …..and the magic bars and the baklava …….the BEST anywhere ……the brownies ….could use some skor pieces ….just sayin 🙂 so happy i live twenty minutes away 🙂

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