Dog-friendly restaurants and places are sometimes hard to come by. We're never totally sure where we can bring our big ol' beloved Golden Retriever. We've made it our mission to check out as may places as possible with Ryley in an effort to expand her world outside of our little bubble of home, park, and yard, to maximize our time with our girl, and to provide information to you, our readers and customers. Dog-friendly places are tricky for me. I have some requirements. I want to know all the details before taking Ryley into any situation. I want to know if there's enough space, if we'll be welcomed or if it's more a nuisance to those dining around us. I want to know if there will be waterbowls provided, if there are dogs on-leash or off, plus about a million other things - after all, this four legged soul is my child and her safety and happiness is top priority. Follow us on the blog as we adventure with Ryleygirl and provide you with the lowdown on all the places we get to. If you have a suggestion, or want us to check out a place for you before taking your pup, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can do the work and get back to you. Now let's get to the nitty gritty of our first adventure...Doublewide Grill in the Southside of Pittsburgh.
Doublewide is like the staple answer when we asked around for ideas on where to take Ryley. Honestly, it felt like everyone told us to go there, so we figured it was a good place to start. It was a pretty warm day with nearly no cloud cover at all - a decent day to dine outside. Overall, the three of us enjoyed our time there, Ryley was ridiculously well behaved and the nachos were good.
Setting: Situated along East Carson Street, Doublewide has a huge patio with lots of umbrellas and people all over the place. There's a lot of action on East Carson, especially on the corner where Doublewide is. The patio is divided into a dog area, and the non-dog area. Picnic tables are scattered all over the place in both dog and non-dog area, and umbrellas are on many tables for shade from the sun. If you're looking at the entrance to the Doublewide, the dog area is on the left, the non-dog is on the right. Tables in the dog friendly area were 2-seaters and 4-seaters. I imagine if you had more people in your group, it would be difficult to squeeze everyone in. It is a seat-yourself atmosphere on the dog-friendly side.
Address/phone #: 2339 East Carson St.,Pittsburgh, Pa 15203, 412-390-1111
Pros: There are waterbowls scattered around and you can take one for your pup and fill it up from the water cooler in the corner. I liked being able to have access to water at all times. It was warm and Ryley went through a lot of water that day. All dogs were well behaved with the occasional bark here and there - which is to be expected. Pup owners were happy to talk about their dogs and ask about ours. Overall the setting was nice. Nachos were good - especially with the 3 dipping sauces - I'm a sucker for dipping choices! All plates and cups were disposable which meant no glass to be broken accidentally where paws could get hurt, and easy clean up - which was great!
Cons: The dog seating area is limited to just a handful of tables and the space was really tight. Maneuvering a 90 lb dog on a leash through the tables filled with people and dogs felt like a gauntlet. Ryley is older and always a little startled if a dog approaches quickly or lunges at her, even in a friendly way. Although she's not even remotely aggressive, I am protective of her and didn't like having to walk her so close to other dogs. I felt really scrunched. If you have a smaller dog, I think it would be totally cool - Ryley is just a bigger girl - and with a smaller dog, you can just scoop them up into your arms when you get up. The table we were at didn't have an umbrella, so it was really warm in the sun - no problem for us, but I was thinking about our dog. I put Ryley under the table to shade her. The servers do not actually come to your table. You have to get up and go to a little counter-type area and put your order in. When they bring your food and drink out, you get up and get it from them at the counter along with your utensils and napkins. On this particular day, this wasn't too bad because there were two of us, so one could hold Ryley while the other got our food and drink. If I were alone though, it would've been difficult to get up and maneuver Ryley again through the tight spaces with dogs, just to get a drink and get my food. Had there been a larger area, or a clear, designated way to get to the counter, that may have helped us. The way the set up was, there was no good way to get up with your dog on a leash and get your food if you were alone.
Overall: If you've got a small or medium sized who is social and relatively well behaved, you will have no problem at Doublewide. It's a more relaxed atmosphere where you are getting up to get your food - kind of like a big picnic where you don't know anyone, but you all have one thing in common - you've got dogs, and that's a great convo starter. The staff was welcoming of all the dogs, the customers were all super friendly, and all the dogs we encountered that day were well behaved. If you've got a bigger dog, or one that is easily excitable in new environments, this may not be your place. The space is too tight to wrangle your pup with ease and the up and down action from people getting their food and drinks means there's a lot happening around you and your dog in a small area. While we enjoyed our time there, we probably won't go back with Ryley. Although we were all relatively at ease, there was too much going on around Ryley at all moments for me to have remained relaxed.
Note: I am a huge supporter of anywhere that allows dogs. My intent here is never to bash a restaurant and only to give you all the little details that you'd want to know before loading up your pup into the car and making the drive there. By nature, it's hard for me to write any place a "cons list" because I'm psyched just to be given the opportunity to bring Ryley somewhere and I think it's pretty awesome when an establishment allows dogs. Just because I wouldn't return with Ryley, doesn't mean I won't return without her. I am grateful to every place that gives me the chance to spend more time with my girl and allows her a new experience. Please take all the forthcoming reviews and apply them to your dog. Only you can really know how your pup will respond in these situations. My goal is to give you as much background info as possible, and to let you know how Ryley responded, so you can draw your own conclusions.
Much love to Doublewide Grill for welcoming us with our four-legged family member!