Dining Out With Dogs: Traverse City Restaurants React to New Bills

“I think it’s a nice option for people to be able to sit outside and enjoy a meal,” says Jennifer Mackey.

Dining out with your dog.

Bills in the Michigan house and senate could make it happen.

The legislation would allow customers to dine in outdoor seating areas, with their dogs at their side.

9 and 10’s Megan Atwood and photojournalist John Harrington break down the specifics, and talked to local restaurants and dog lovers.

Come warmer months, outdoor seating areas like the one here at North Peak are full of customers, and a new bill would allow customers to eat with their fuzzy companions.

“A lot of people call about having dogs outside so it would be nice to be able to accommodate them,” says Jennifer Mackey, owner of Taproot Cider House.

The bills say dogs would have to be by their owners at all times, and wouldn’t be allowed to climb on tables or sit in chairs. Additionally, they wouldn’t be allowed inside the restaurant.

Taproot Cider House is giving it a thumbs up.

“I think it’s a good alternative to keeping them in a car. I feel like a lot of people from out of town are just traveling into town that don’t want to leave their dog at home. They can go outside and dine and not have to worry,” Mackey goes on to say.

And local dog owners agree.

“We like to take our dog places with us so I think it would be super cool to be able to bring him out and have a meal with us,” says Kendal Fifield.

But other restaurants fear it’s a double edged sword, and have concerns.

“I would feel nervous having animals out there with hot steaks walking by serving them to people and kids running around. The majority of dogs are well trained and they act awesome in public but you have that one that’s not and the wrong situation occurs and it could be a nasty situation,” says Michael Lloyd, the General Manager at North Peak Brewing Company.

“Some people have phobias of dogs, allergies of dogs, there’s quite a few different reasons why they would feel uncomfortable dining in an environment with dogs present,” Lloyd goes on to say.

The bills also list that restaurants would be responsible for keeping the outdoor dining areas clean, but wouldn’t be marked as a health or safety hazard for having dogs on their patios.

Categories: Pets