Dog-friendly dining spots gaining in popularity

There’s a special menu offered at The Olde Spitfire Grille geared toward four-legged customers.

From “bark bowls” to “sweet puptato chips,” the South Greensburg eatery has gone out of its way to cater to customers and their pets.

It’s been a growing trend in Western Pennsylvania.

Pet-friendly restaurants have been gaining popularity over the past decade, with establishments offering outdoor eating spaces where customers can enjoy a meal and a drink alongside their pets.

“Being dog-friendly has brought in people,” general manager Nancy Pastorius said. “It is hard to find upscale dining with dog-friendly accommodations.”

Because of the growing popularity of pet-friendly places, the Allegheny County Health Department developed guidance in 2015 for restaurants and taverns as part of its Food Safety Program.

“From a food-safety perspective, we would want to ensure the food facility is adhering to requirements … to prevent the contamination of food and food contact surfaces,” said Food Safety Program manager Amanda Mator.

Establishments must have a separate dining area for pets, whether that’s a pick-up window or an outdoor seating area.

Customers must dispose of all garbage produced by their pets and themselves, food workers are not to interact with pets, and policies should be in place to prevent interactions between food workers and the animals, Mator said.

There is no requirement that states that pets must be kept on leashes.

Southern Tier Brewery on Pittsburgh’s North Shore offers an outdoor beer garden where dogs are more than welcome.

The brewery has always been pet friendly, said manager Anna Braley.

“The best part of the staff’s day is getting to see the dogs,” Braley said. She added that the dogs are what make the beer garden the best feature at Southern Tier Brewery. The pets are taken care of by staff with bowls of cold water and treats as refreshments.

Pastorius said although The Olde Spitfire Grille owners originally wanted to accommodate dogs upon opening, they had not always been dog friendly because of the previous staff’s unwillingness. “(The owners) were never in a position with a team that would host dogs,” she said.

However, with a new restaurant team and a renewed vision, the owners were able to make the restaurant pet-friendly.

On Aug. 13, the restaurant will have a “Yappy Hour” for various dog-friendly organizations, including the Youngwood Top Dog Services therapy team, in which pups from all over the region will compete to see which organization collects the most tip money from their dog- friendly cocktail creations.

Dad’s Pub and Grub in Monroeville has made similar accommodations for pets. It also created a pup menu and provides treats and water.

“I have two partners, and we’re all dog owners,” said Steve McKelvey, one of Dad’s owners. “That’s kind of how we want to draw the same clientele.”

McKelvey said the staff had always been enthusiastic about hosting dogs.

Pastorius said she felt the same way.

“(We) feel that dogs are family, too,” she said.

Haley Moreland is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Haley at

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