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?