Restaurants cater to customers with four-legged companions

Correction

Dear readers,

As someone who frequents many restaurants that allow dogs in outdoor areas, it never crossed my mind that they may not actually be permitted. Virtually every restaurant with an outdoor area welcomes dogs with water and treats, and many even advertise as “pet-friendly.” (See below.)

However, it is my responsibility as a reporter to check and double check the contents of what I am reporting on, and I made a mistake in not thoroughly checking Delaware regulations regarding pets in restaurants. 

I sincerely apologize to our readers.

Per the Delaware Food Code, live animals are not allowed on the premises of a food establishment, whether they’re in an outdoor area or not.

Clearly, however, this part of the code is not being enforced. We have reached out to the Department of Health and Social Services to clarify and will share their response as soon as it is received.

Sincerely,

Shannon Marvel McNaught

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It’s no wonder that businesses are catering to pets nowadays. Pet ownership has gone up 56 percent over the last 30 years.

According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,” said pet owner Suzanne Snyder Cannon, of Lewes. “Pets are more respected as family members and companions than in the past.”

Restaurants in particular aim to attract customers of the canine variety.

“We have dog regulars, just as we have people regulars, so I think we do get a draw in that people will bring their pets on a consistent basis,” said Lexi Hawkins, general manager of Grain Craft Bar and Kitchen in Newark.

Grain features a covered outdoor patio that’s enclosed in the winter, and an open-air outdoor deck. They host dog bingo once a month, which awards dog prizes like collars and treats.

Crooked Hammock Brewery, in Lewes, features an “oversized backyard,” where pets are welcome.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on the fact that we offer a place where families from all walks of life can unwind,” said marketing manager Tom Little. “What’s a full family experience without your pet?”

Crooked Hammock offers pet-friendly activities, from dog adoption gatherings to holiday photo ops. They host exotic animals from Barn Hill Preserve on summer weekends.

“As long as they’re well-behaved, we don’t discriminate,” said Little.

Grain manager Lexi Hawkins thinks that dogs offer restaurants another benefit.

“I think they make us a little more friendly overall,” she said.