It’s not uncommon for high-end restaurants to go above and beyond to make diners feel welcome. But at Angler on the Embarcadero, a Michelin-starred seafood destination, where there’s a roaring fire in the kitchen and a photo-worthy view of the bay out front, the team isn’t content. more than satisfying its typical, well-heeled clientele. Since the beginning of the month, they have also opened their arms, their terrace and their park to the four-legged friends of their customers. The restaurant recently launched a two-course menu just for dogs, allowing pups of all sizes, ages and colors to enjoy a free salmon or chicken biscuit topped with “caviar” made with dog-friendly ingredients by the restaurant’s award-winning culinary chef. team.
And the seafood-centric stunner isn’t the only place San Franciscans can not only dine next to their pets, but also dine with them. A number of restaurants, from casual to upscale, are hoping to break customers out of their pandemic dining routines by encouraging them to bring their dogs to dinner.
Jessica Kapoor, team leader at Saison Hospitality, says the idea for the Angler’s menu came about after staff noticed that more and more people were bringing their dogs to the restaurant. She had also had conversations with pet owners who were reluctant to leave their dogs at home while they were away. “I think during quarantine a lot of people were home alone, and I think their pets really helped them through that time,” Kapoor says. “And going out to eat was a celebration of the fact that people can be outside, and I think a lot of them took their dogs with them, because they’ve been living rough during this time when they were at home in solitude. .”
The boom in pet adoption caused by pandemic-induced stay-at-home orders has been well documented. And despite widespread concerns about all those “pandemic puppies” being sent back to shelters, reports indicate the crisis has largely been averted in San Francisco. But where, other than “home” and “anxious,” does that leave these good boys and girls? Well, for at least some homeowners, the answer seems to be in restaurants – something that has only become more attainable thanks to the massive expansion of outdoor dining space in the city, via all those parklets now permanent.
Marina District’s Peruvian restaurant Jaranita, a more casual spinoff of La Mar Cebicheria Peruana that opened in January, also announced a new Yappy Hour every Tuesday from 4-6 p.m., during which dogs get free treats and $1 from every cocktail purchased goes to local dog rescue Muttville. Of course, dogs are always welcome in the restaurant’s 40-seat park, but general manager Diego A. Pilares says the weekly event is a way for the restaurant to re-establish and strengthen its ties with the neighborhood. “We’re obviously not the cookie-cutter option for that,” he says. “[But] it was just kind of natural. Many people have had dogs during the pandemic and are starting to go out a bit more. We want them to feel at home here. ”
Tacolicious, a mini-chain of Mexican restaurants with three locations across the city, is following a similar route to Angler, not only welcoming puppies, but also creating a menu of food options for them. Their weekly Barklet Happy Hour, which launched at the Marina on October 6, means dog owners can pay $6 for the kitchen to whip up a Happy Meal of chopped sweet potatoes and chicken thigh or $2 for a churro chews made with coconut oil and cinnamon — bowls of water, however, are free.
At Angler, Saison Hospitality business manager Brian Limoges – who has spent time in the kitchens of some of San Francisco’s top restaurants including Birdsong, Quince and Atelier Crenn – admits he was skeptical when the team approached to prepare dog food. “But, I mean, I approached it like I approach any other challenge,” he says, pointing out that Angler’s dog menu is still rooted in the restaurant’s ethos of using ingredients high quality and thoughtful preparation.
The resulting menu includes two options, both inspired by the restaurant’s caviar-topped banana pancake, which is not recommended for puppy consumption. Limoges says the cookies, which are shaped like a bone or a fish, are made from oatmeal that the kitchen makes in-house, by toasting the oats and then grinding them, and bananas which the team matures to “their optimum nutritional level”. Even the chicken broth is made without alliums, which can be toxic to dogs. They then top them with Jinx-brand salmon or chicken toppings, offering two options in an attempt to be sensitive to certain dog dietary restrictions. All told, treats might be the most delicious thing a dog has ever enjoyed. “I ate myself to make sure,” laughs Limoges.