Is this country going to the dogs? Dogue has just opened in San Francisco—and it’s the first fine-dining doggie restaurant in the United States, located in a city where dogs are rumored to outnumber children.
Forget kibble. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, this luxury restaurant serves nutritious meals, including a rose-shaped cake filled with wild venison heart, chicken-mushroom soup prepared tableside, chicken-skin waffles and even “dogguccinos.” On Sundays, you can splash out on a three-course $75 tasting menu.
In case you’re curious, there’s no human food. Just elaborate dishes catering to man’s best friend.
A professional chef trained in classical French cuisine, Dogue’s founder, Rahmi Massarweh, believes that fresh and raw food is great for dogs. “Dogue is our mission to change the lives of as many dogs as we can. Feeding fresh, seasonal, quality whole food one meal at a time,” says Massarweh.
Massarweh says he got the idea after he and his wife got an Old English Mastiff named Grizzly. (The name of the restaurant means “mastiff” in French.) “We knew we wanted him to be the happiest dog, with the healthiest food, and the best life we could give him,” says Massarweh, who fed him food recommended by the breeder and a local pet store.
But Grizzly was a picky pup. “After one week it was obvious he didn’t like his food and it dawned on us: We wouldn’t enjoy eating the same dry, crunchy, bagged or canned food every single day either,” says Massarweh.
So using his knowledge as a chef, Massarweh started preparing seasonal, fresh, whole foods, then took it a step further and learned from professionals how to handcraft nutrient-dense, balanced meals including pasture-raised, grass-fed meat and seasonal and organic vegetables. A business was born, and in 2015 Massarweh started selling hand-crafted, small-batch, artisanal food to clients—part of a new luxury pet food movement aimed at serving pets human-quality food.
The new restaurant, located in San Francisco’s Mission District, was the natural evolution.
The restaurant has stirred up an intense debate on social media. “Why? People are out here starving, work they a**es off and [can’t] get proper care with their tax payer dollars and you want to treat dogs to a meal that cost $75 and up?” TheBlkCassanova wrote on Twitter. “I’m a dog lover but, some things are unnecessary, especially with SF being so high.”
“The food is overpriced like at most San Francisco restaurants, but you’ll get the added benefit of feeling really stupid,” says Twitter user @QuicksandClub.
But there are also plenty of fans. “Hopefully first of many,” Tweeted @shikokubarbie. “I hope to see more of these restaurants throughout SF so my dog can experience different cuisines,” says Twitter user @BernieBuxxx.
This isn’t the first Fido-friendly restaurant in the United States. There’s a casual dog cafe in Pacifica, California named AnnaBee, as well as restaurants across the country serving menus for both humans and pets. The Block in Minneapolis serves pet entrees like a Turkey Meatloaf and a Pup Burger and also has a dog-friendly “Pawtio” with heated floors that’s open year-round. New York City’s The Wilson has a dog menu with dishes like a $24 grilled steak. Even Shake Shack serves Fido-friendly treats like a Poochini and a Bag ‘o’ Bones.
But Dogue is certainly the first luxury establishment catering only to pooches with a high-end dogs menu. And apparently, it’s doggone delicious.