In May, Pub Dog Colorado (2207 W. Bott Ave.) plans to break ground on its way to becoming the first restaurant in the country with a legal variance allowing for guests to dine indoors with their canine companions. To be clear, that's only on one half of an otherwise normal restaurant; its separate entrance will also connect to a large patio and 2,000-square-foot artificial turf area for pups to play. Servers won't be allowed on the dog half, and orders will be placed through a window, among other requirements from an 18-item-long, bullet-pointed list.
The Downs family has already procured a trademark and is working toward a patent, says father Scott, who was a firefighter for 17 years before becoming a developer in 1997. His daughter Tara has managed at Concept Restaurants for nearly a decade.
"This is happening, whether you like it or not, on restaurant patios," says Scott, noting that the health department doesn't have the staff to penalize daily infractions around town. "But we know the functionality of living with dogs around our food isn't the issue ... Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the U.S. are dictating the American experience, and dogs are a huge component of their life."
With so much focus on the concept, the only note about offerings at this point is that they'll include local brews and "a fun menu."
Even with no more details in place yet and an opening set for March 2016, Scott says people are "coming out of the woodwork" requesting franchise information, which is something he didn't initially plan for. But with the demand, and a clear sense that "this is something people have become so universally attached to," he says he's already identified eight other ideal locations in Colorado alone.
Food at CCM
Around early February, expect Colorado Coffee Merchants (302 E. Fillmore St., umpireestate.com) to add a small food menu to its roasting and coffee-service operations.
Though he's "always wanted to keep [the] focus on coffee," owner Eric Umenhofer says it's an idea he's been kicking around for several years, particularly since he expanded into an adjacent storefront in mid-2013. Stephanie Matthews of Steffi's Bakery and Confections, who's sold her caramels at CCM for quite some time, will be his house chef; she's leaving her baking post at nearby Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery to take the gig. Umenhofer says she "can do whatever she feels like" with a daily menu from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will keep a small inventory to ensure everything stays fresh. It may be crepes one day, he says, then a soup and sandwich the next, with sweets like pies as finishers. The two have tentative plans to add a diner-style counter on-site.