Are dogs allowed in restaurants? The answer to that depends on which dining establishment you’re asking about!
For example, is Olive Garden pet-friendly? How about Cracker Barrel? Starbucks?
Keep reading to find out the answers to those questions, plus discover some of our favorite smaller pet-friendly restaurants near you!
➔ Related: Best Places That Have Dog Ice Cream
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When are dogs allowed in restaurants?
Before we jump into our list, let’s just go over a few “rules” that govern when dogs are allowed in restaurants.
First and foremost, a restaurant’s pet-friendly policy can change at ANY time without warning for any reason (or for no reason at all). For example, during the height of the pandemic, most restaurants and stores revoked their pet-friendly policy for health & social distancing reasons. Some of them have yet to reinstate it, opting to remain un-pet-friendly, so to speak. So always call ahead to make sure the rules haven’t changed.
Second, PLEASE (please times a million) keep your dog on a leash and only take well-behaved TRAINED dogs with you to a restaurant. Bringing an unruly dog with you to eat isn’t just incredibly rude, but it risks ruining pet-friendly policies for everyone else. This should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway: NEVER, ever, ever, ever, ever (you get the point) bring an aggressive dog with you to a restaurant.
Third, nearly all of these dining establishments below ONLY allow dogs in their outdoor seating areas. So really, they’re not quite so pet-friendly in the dead of winter. A lot of places close their outdoor eating areas when it’s cold outside, for obvious reasons.
Last, when we talk about whether or not dogs are allowed in restaurants, we’re talking about pet dogs. Service dogs have different rules and can pretty much go everywhere that you can go. One note, though, emotional support animals are not the same thing as service dogs and aren’t covered by the same laws.
Dog-Friendly Chain Restaurants
Below are some of the most popular dog-friendly chain restaurants, although most only allow dogs in outdoor seating. Just keep in mind that individual franchise owners can make their own rules to some extent, including deciding whether to allow pets. So again, call ahead.
Once almost exclusively a southern California burger joining, Johnny Rockets now has locations scattered throughout much of the US. Most of their locations allow dogs in the outdoor dining area.
This restaurant chain is a favorite of pet owners because some of the Jonny Rocket locations even have a menu just for your pet. It includes a doggy hamburger, ice cream treats, and carob “ruffles.”
This restaurant is located on the west coast in 19 locations with plans to expand. Their dog menu includes plain grilled burgers and plain chicken breasts and brown rice. Each location has a dog-friendly patio. The dog rules are: your dog must be leashed, no dogs jumping on tables and your dog must have manners.
This chain is located throughout the U.S. and lets your dog lounge in the outside dining area with you. You can buy a Pooch-ini which is a combination of peanut butter sauce, dog biscuits, and vanilla custard or you can just buy a bag of biscuits. For you, there are delicious burgers, fries, and ever-popular shakes.
Yes, even the Olive Garden in some locations are dog friendly. If the Olive Garden has an outdoor dining area, it’s possible your dog is welcome too. You should call ahead, though, just to double-check.
If your local Applebee’s has an outdoor patio, chances are your dog will be welcome too. Calling ahead of time to check to see if your dog is permitted at the Applebee’s in your area is advisable.
Cracker Barrel does not allow dogs inside. However, if they have an outdoor seating area, your leashed and well-behaved pooch is free to join you at most locations.
Starbucks isn’t technically a dog-friendly restaurant. However, some locations will allow small dogs inside provided their owners hold them. Others will allow leashed dogs of all sizes. Again, though, they must be well-behaved, and it’s really up to each store’s owner/manager.
Outback, a popular Australian-themed restaurant known for (as the name implies) its steaks, allows dogs in its outdoor patio dining area as long as they’re on a leash.
Other chain restaurants in the US that typically allow dogs in their outdoor seating areas include:
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Dairy Queen
- Sonic Drive-In
- Panera Bread
- In-N-Out Burger
- Baja Fresh
- Joe’s Crab Shack
Top 10 Best Local Pet-Friendly Restaurants in the United States
Since there are roughly 661,000 dining establishments in the United States, it would be pretty difficult to list every single pet-friendly restaurant near you. So, I’m just sharing a few of my favorites.
If you don’t live near any of these restaurants that allow dogs, call around your own area. You’d be surprised at the places that pets can go to these days!
The Joy Café is located in Atlanta, Georgia at one of Atlanta’s favorite places to eat brunch. Dogs are always welcomed on the front patio.
Mocking Bird Bistro:
This is a casual place in Houston Texas where you can sit down, relax and kick back your feet.
Your dog can snooze on the rustic front porch while you’re drinking wine and eating Houston’s finest seafood.
Egg Works and the Egg & I:
In Las Vegas, Nevada. The Egg Works are sprinkled everywhere as well as its sister restaurant the Egg & I.
The outdoor area welcomes you and your dog while you chow down on their signature egg dishes.
In a suburb of Los Angeles, the outdoor patio tables are perfect for the 1950’s diner-style favorite for both you and your dog.
The waitresses are on roller skates as they carefully balance the trays of delicious burgers and milkshakes.
In Miami, FL, Ms. Cheezious has a delicious array of yummy grilled cheeses on the menu.
Some of the toppings are spiced apples and buffalo tempeh to tempt your taste buds. Wooden tables located outside under towering trees allow you to enjoy the company of your furry companions.
Barking Dog Restaurant:
In New York, NY, the Barking Dog Restaurant is so family-oriented it even features a dog fountain.
Your dog can mingle with other canines at the fountain while you much on banana pancakes and orange juice which is freshly squeezed.
Mutts Canine Cantina:
In Dallas, Texas, the Mutts Canine Cantina allows dogs on leash to the outdoor patio. It also has a one acre off-leash dog park, with separate areas for large and small dogs.
For Mutts Members. The restaurant even has doggy items on its menu such as vanilla custard with peanut butter and bite size franks.
Located in Morristown, NJ the Morristown Deli has booster seats and doggie high chairs to your pet can eat at the table with you.
Every dog receives a bowl of water and the Doggie Menu changes with the season with treats and doggie desserts.
The Watering Bowl:
Located in Denver, Co, The Watering Bowl has a 7000-square-foot area which is fenced in. This area is part dog park and part tavern dogs are welcome here.
Rita’s on the River:
In San Antonio, Texas Rita’s on the River not only permits dogs but welcomes them to half of the tables.
The menu for pets includes puppy-approved ice cream, dog treats with a free water slushy. A portion of the proceeds of the dog menu purchase goes to the local animal rescue.
I’ll say this one last time because it’s important: please remember that even dog-friendly restaurants have rules and exceptions. Generally speaking, your pooch needs to stay on a leash and MUST be well-behaved.
Can you imagine trying to eat and a strange dog drooling on your toes the whole time? Keep Fido close so he doesn’t disrupt other customers.