Two Paws Up: Dog-Friendly Patios
Minnesotans love their pets, it’s no secret. Thankfully, Minnesota joined the civilized world a few years ago by lifting the ban on eating with dogs at restaurants. Since then, scores of restaurants and bars have opened their patios to Canine Americans and their people. Grab a leash and come hungry; as there are plenty of patios that are dog-friendly — some even offer a special menu for your furry friend.
But, hurry! Minnesota weather only allows for a couple months before these patios close their doors to dogs (and humans) until next spring.
Bread and Pickle
4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis
You can find Bread and Pickle at the Bandshell on Lake Harriet. The restaurant uses local ingredients with a menu focusing on seasonal hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Jog over with your dog on sunny mornings for breakfast sandwiches, scrambles, scones, fruit, muffins, and the restaurant’s homemade dog treats; a dollar a bag.
5600 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
After a walk around Lake Nokomis, bring your dog to this award-winning Italian pizza, pasta, and hoagie restaurant on the edge of South Minneapolis. Fat Lorenzo’s chewy crust pizzas have been drawing customers to their doors for the last 27 years. You’ve probably seen their red awning and the bright murals painted by Twin Cities artist Ed Charbonneau. Dogs can sit at tables at this corner restaurant and bark hello at other dogs in passing cars. Share a bite of your meal with your dog, or order your pup a single meatball – the folks here are happy to oblige.
5607 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis
First Course is a Nokomis neighborhood restaurant across from Todd Park and is known for its upscale bistro menu and a casual vibe. On warm evenings (or during the weekend brunch) you can bring your dog and sit under their Prussian blue patio umbrellas on the cozy sidewalk-turned-terrace. The full-service wait staff loves the dogs, bringing bowls of cold water for your pooch and, sometimes, taking their photos.
3712 Quebec Ave. S., St. Louis Park
Located in the former Wagner’s space, the Galaxy Drive-In invites you to come have an “intergalactic, retrofuturistic, and pet-friendly dining experience.” If you don’t know what to make of that, don’t worry — all you need to know is that your dogs will have a great time. Every dog visitor gets a cute, puppy-size vanilla ice cream cone. If you really want to spoil your pet, the menu has a “Doggie Treat” section that includes biscuits ($1), burgers ($2.25), and all-beef hot dogs ($2.25). Galaxy focuses on burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, and fountain drinks with plates of ribs, fried chicken, and cheese curds also on the menu. Eat in your car or on Galaxy’s picnic tables on grassy areas designed to make dogs happy. There are fire pits — come on Saturday nights for the bonfires and roasting marshmallows.
3501 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Whether you visit the food truck or the brick and mortar storefront, Hola Arepa is serving their take on Latin cuisine in the streets of Minneapolis. If you couldn’t guess from the name, Hola Arepa specializes in Venezuelan stuffed arepas (the perfect vehicle for the delicious Latin-style fillings). The arepas are handmade fresh every day from cornmeal dough, made into patties, and cooked on the griddle. Cooked dough? Enough for anyone, but then it is filled with meats, veggies, cheese, and topped with homemade salsas. Just ask them: all of their food is made from scratch “with a whole lot of love.”
2528 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Plan a romantic afternoon or evening on the patio with your canine friend (and others), overlooking the Icehouse Courtyard. Escape from Minneapolis while still being in the heart of the city. But plan carefully! Patio is first come/first serve only — no reservations for this little slice of heaven! Icehouse features a two-story fixture with American cuisine, drinks, and live music in an industrial-chic space.
2990 West River Parkway, Minneapolis
Longfellow boasts, “We’re an urban diner. Real people serving real food,” and that they are! At the Longfellow Grill, they serve fresh, always made-from-scratch fare. If you’re on the lookout for something savory, slightly unexpected, and addictive for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Longfellow might be the place for you. From fish tacos and sweet potato fries to their award-winning turkey burger, banana waffle, and hashbrowns, you’re bound to become a regular. They’ll be the first to tell you: Longfellow Grill is a comfortable joint, the kind of place that feels like a second home. Only with better french fries, a better view, and your dog, too.
Lucia’s Restaurant and Wine Bar
1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis
At Lucia’s, humans aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy local, organic, and beautifully crafted food. Pooches dining on this patio are treated to biscuits made from Lucia’s house-made chicken stock. If that wasn’t enough, Lucia’s patio also boasts a custom-built “Dog Bar,” a glass-tiled fountain that not only looks cool but provides fresh, cold water at dog level.
Nomad World Pub
501 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
It doesn’t get any better for dogs than Nomad World Pub, located near the university’s West Bank. Choose between the two patios (one cozy, one really huge,) with bocce courts, a stone fireplace, and an outside bar. Some members of Nomad’s staff bring their own dogs to work. Nomad also hosts off-leash parties and dog rescue fund-raisers, including one called “Beer with Your Buddy.” Only precaution: you may want to think twice about bringing your dog after 10:00 p.m., what with loud music that can hurt the dog’s ears.
2716 E. 38th St., Minneapolis
Minneapolis loves its craft beers, there’s no doubt about it. Northbound is a full-service restaurant with an on-site craft brewery (I know, right?!). In 2012, Northbound opened with the hopes of being a cozy neighborhood bar and they haven’t let us down. Virtually everything on the menu is smoked, from turkey, beef, and pork to cheese and eggs while the beer has received great acclaim for being edgy, full-flavored and overall well-executed. Stop by with your dog for a menu where the appetizers are just as great as the entrees.
5557 Xerxes Ave. S., Minneapolis
Not many things could be more endearing than a business named after a beloved pet. Years ago, Ann Kim, inspired by the pure love of food, joy, and her mother’s own delicious cooking, quit her day job, opened an artisan pizza place, and named it after her dog. There’s no need to be overly patriotic here, but is there anything more American than that? While Lola can be exceptionally busy, the pizza and the patio are well worth the wait. The handmade cedar picnic tables are spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room for your pup to rest at your feet while you’re enjoying your dinner. After your dog has gobbled up the complimentary treats from the staff, take them over to the special water station and let them rehydrate.
Salut on Grand
917 Grand Ave., St. Paul
The French bistro around the corner, Salut sets the stage for dining that is fun, delicious, and romantic with a Francophile atmosphere. If the Salut frog with a beret wasn’t enough to draw you in, the dog-friendly patio should. Brush up on your French vocabulary and bring a date. It’s all tongue in cheek. The ideal repast can be anything from a dish with lusty flavor to a heart-warming classic.
4955 W. Lake Nokomis Parkway, Minneapolis
Located at the main beach of Lake Nokomis, the little building was once a place for kids to get ice cream bars and candy until Chef Doug Flicker took it over. The menu includes a BLT, sweet pea falafel wrap, a BBQ pork sandwich, ceviche, and two kinds of hot dogs. Sip wine, beer, and cider as you watch the airplanes land and the ducks waddle. Dogs can stretch out under the table.
Sea Salt Eatery
4801 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis
Sea Salt is located in Minnehaha Park, so go for a walk to work up a big appetite — you’re going to need it. The seafood-based, seasonal restaurant focuses a bit on upscale foods (oysters on the half shell, Andouile soup, po’boy sandwiches, Thai red curry shrimp with pineapple, and their famous fish tacos). There’s no lake, but it’s located right next to Minnehaha Falls, and the creek and the park are beautiful.
2500 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis
“Yappy Hour” — need I say more? Many places offer a doggie menu, but there is now a happy hour for your dog, and it’s at Stanley’s. Some of these dog entrees sound like meals you’d like to enjoy yourself. Take this one: six-ounce baked chicken breast served on a bed of organic jasmine brown rice, veggies, and sweet potatoes. The K-9 Chicken starts the human’s salivary glands working on overdrive, so imagine what the human menu has to offer!
96 N. Dale St., St. Paul
Sweeney’s Saloon has bar food, sandwiches, burgers, and an extensive choice of beers, wine, and liquors. Your dog will love their beautiful patio, which is a multi-level outdoor space with a large stone fireplace, a canopy of trees, heaters for chilly nights, and a full outside bar. The patio can get crowded, especially during happy hour, but if your dog doesn’t mind you’ll both have a great time.
3000 E. Calhoun Parkway, Minneapolis
Located on Lake Calhoun, Tin Fish has a large and varied menu that includes conch, calamari, crab cakes, fish tacos and sandwiches, grilled and fried fish and seafood, a variety of chicken dishes, and even some 10 oz. burgers. It’s actually part of a chain, but it doesn’t seem that way. Place an order at the counter (lines can be long), then find a table and your server will find you. The large patio on the lake is beautiful and you can find scores of people and their dogs watching the sunsets and sailboats. But, when the dogs come to the window they have to sit to get a treat.
Wilde Roast Cafe
65 Main St. SE, Minneapolis
The Wilde Roast Cafe is a neighborhood restaurant with an updated Victorian feel, but it’s not your typical cafe. Named after Oscar Wilde, a man with eccentric tastes that were ahead of his time; he favored velvet breeches and peacock feathers (a motif that you’ll see in the restaurant). Breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus feature an array of sandwiches, individual-sized pizzas, appetizers, and other great comfort food. Sit on the patio with your dog and enjoy the sunshine. The Wilde Roast owner’s latest venture, Mattie’s on Main, is just next door and also offers a dog-friendly patio with plans to host a weekly “Happy Woof Hour!” at Mattie’s patio, so be on the lookout for that to roll out in the (hopefully) near future.