Imagine the horror of a restaurateur approached about working with Three Dog Bakery (1134 Town and Country Crossing Drive, Town and Country; 636-527-3364) to co-host a Dogs' Night Out at his or her tony joint. Images of slobber on the fine china or the café scene in Marley and Me surely caused a few pre-event nightmares.
According to Three Dog Bakery owner Kathy Caton, some restaurant owners she approached were initially reluctant. She adds: "We stress to them that we totally take care of the dogs. If they make a mess, we clean up. The [wait] staff only has to take care of the people." Caton even provides all the dog-proof melamine plates for the three-course canine meal.
Yes, a three-course canine meal. At the May dinner, Caton designed a menu around the Italian theme of Napoli 2 (1054 Town and Country Crossing Drive, Town and Country; 636-256-9998). When Steuben (Gut Check's official dog-food taste tester) arrived, he sampled "yappetizers" in the form of mini-pizzas and cheese sticks along with a spinach dip made from whipped whey protein. Steuben, being a dog, didn't even object to the cutesy name and allowed the first course to distract his attention from fellow diner Romeo, an American bulldog, one table away.
Next, Steuben polished off a plate of spaghetti with turkey meatballs, then finished with a cannoli garnished with carob chips and stuffed with cherry filling with more of the whipped whey in a dish on the side. Caton can even accommodate special dietary needs when the pet parent makes the dinner reservations (advanced reservations and payment are required).
This month's outing, on Tuesday, June 21, at Café Provencal (427 South Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-822-5440), inspired a French theme. The yappetizer has become "l'yaperitif": cheese puff pastries with crudités of raw vegetables. The entrée of boeuf bourguignon comes with sweet potato frites, with carob mousse for dessert. Remember, this is the canine menu. Dog owners, alas, will have to content themselves to order from the restaurant menu.
Caton is hoping to find a Mexican venue and some lake-front restaurants, as well as planning a return to Napoli 2. After Tuesday's event, however, she won't be scheduling any more outings until September, when restaurant patios are less like canine Easy-Bake Ovens. [Insert "hot dog" joke here].