A restaurant built for dogs (and their owners)

Concept to Watch: Mutts Canine Cantina includes a full-service bar and off-leash dog park

When Kyle Noonan and Josh Sepkowitz saw a woman trying to eat lunch on a patio while her leashed puppy whimpered and squirmed, trying to break free and roam, they had an epiphany.

“There’s such a rise in dog ownership, so many people have dogs and they’re such a part of the family,” Noonan says. “Why not create a restaurant built for and catering to dogs, instead of just opening a dog-friendly restaurant?”

They leased some open land in a dense urban dense area in Dallas and landscaped it with a large fenced-in dog park. In the middle, they put in a 1950’s-style roadside food stand and full-service bar with patio seating, and called it Mutts Canine Cantina. There are two locations currently; both closed temporarily because of the pandemic and reopened May 1. “Business has been great,” Noonan says.

The concept’s ability to configure dog parks into irregular spaces allows it to occupy land that couldn’t support a conventional retail building. Mutt’s also offers a membership club that ensures income during inclement weather when the restaurant can’t be open; members have access to the dog park’s obstacle courses, pools, greenery, sun and shade. Each location has about 2,000 members right now, and numbers are growing steadily.

“We reached the 1,000-member threshold in about 45 days,” Noonan says.

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