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.
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).
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.
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.
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…
Want more info?
Blog post from Hungry Hammer Girl
August 29th, 2013 at 9:23 am
I don’t have pets, but that sounds like a nice niche that was filled. Very ingenious.
August 29th, 2013 at 9:54 am
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.
August 29th, 2013 at 10:26 am
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.
August 29th, 2013 at 8:46 pm
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
August 29th, 2013 at 8:41 pm
Luv u too Lowden Lady! We always miss you around Munchies. See you soon!
August 29th, 2013 at 10:23 am
So any animal is welcome? Cool! Watch all these dogs go nuts when this squirrel walks in! 😉
August 29th, 2013 at 10:24 am
OH, THE HUMANITY!
Er… Caninity? Rodentity? O.o
August 29th, 2013 at 10:26 am
Huge manatees are welcome too? Wow, this is a really progressive establishment!
August 29th, 2013 at 10:27 am
As long as they’re not disruptive, making a mess, or taking up all of the seating. Or splashing people, or peeing on the floor…
August 29th, 2013 at 10:28 am
Yeah, I think if the manatee makes a mess, you’ll have to ask one of the staff members for “extra help”… and leave a very large tip….
August 29th, 2013 at 10:30 am
August 29th, 2013 at 11:46 am
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!!
August 29th, 2013 at 11:49 am
Wouldn’t that be great? I think a lot of it would depend on who ran the show at each location, though.
August 29th, 2013 at 1:30 pm
What a great place!!!!
August 29th, 2013 at 9:41 pm
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 🙂
August 29th, 2013 at 9:43 pm
Lucky you, living so close! Oh, I tried the apple things… Divine.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂