I’ll have what she’s having — no not her, the dog
Tom Kaiser's canine companions enjoying turkey meatloaf from Stanley's NE Restaurant/Bar delivered by Bite Squad.
The dog’s menu at Stanley’s NE Restaurant and Bar started as a fun way to reward dogs who accompanied their masters to happy hour on the patio and ended up on Bite Squad’s delivery route.
The food, which arrives in well-marked containers, is essentially “people food,” General Manager Kelli Holloway says. She came up with the idea because her standard poodle Nala was brought up on homemade food and blueberries for snacks. Should Nala expect anything less when she dines out?
“My dad would say, ‘how would you like to eat the same thing every day?’” she said in reference to the popular choice of dry dog food. And since most people don’t have the large families that used to support farm dogs with scraps from the table, if you want your dog to eat like a farm dog, you have to stay in the kitchen.
Wasn’t delivery invented so cooks could get out of the kitchen? So if you’re cooking your dog’s meal every day along with your own having your dog’s meal delivered, too, doesn’t sound like such an extravagance
On Stanley’s patio in Northeast Minneapolis, dogs are provided yoga mats to lie on (down dog is the usual pose) and stainless steel water bowls. By law dogs must have their own dishes. “They can’t eat off plates or drink from your cup,” Holloway says about canine guests. The hardest rule to follow, however, is that staff can’t pet the dogs.
In the three-and-a-half years they’ve had dog food on the menu, Stanley’s has sold 20,000 meals, said Luke Derheim, who does operations for Craft & Crew, the parent company of Stanley’s. Most diners order three courses: a bone, entrée and dessert for their dogs, he said. He and the company’s COO David Benowitz are planning on opening another bar/restaurant with a dog-friendly menu in St. Louis Park, near a doggy daycare facility, conveniently enough. Their patios are covered so they can be used during the colder months.
The delivery menu is smaller than the inhouse dining menu, with three entrées, ranging in price from $6 to $8, plus a chewy smoked pig’s ear ($3) and two sizes of frozen smoked beef-marrow bones ($4). Dogs have to show up in person for the “Pooched” egg brunch bowl and Izzy’s dairy-free ice cream, Peanut Butter Banana Pupcream sundae. Izzy’s, a local ice cream company, makes the treat with coconut milk, and humans can enjoy it as well. Entrées are basically ground meat, rice and cooked vegetables. For pet owners with a cat, there’s the salmon cakes option.
Stanley's typically sells around 10 to 12 dog meals a week via Bite Squad in the summer, with that number dropping off a bit in the winter, Derheim said.
To test it out, we ordered our lunch and a lunch for our coworker’s dog, since we sadly are not current dog owners. Here’s how the costs broke down: Human lunch $18; dog $12 (we couldn’t not buy a pig’s ear); booking fee $4.99; sales tax, $2.81; other taxes and fee service (no tip required) $5.67—for a total of $45.77. The prices are the same on the delivery menu and the eat-in menu.
The Bite Squad driver admitted that he didn't treat the dog and people foods any differently because he wasn’t aware that he had dog food. Both meals were packed in cardboard containers, very well marked. But it’s probably not a big deal if I had eaten the dog’s meal instead of my own. People order dog food for themselves, Halloway said.
We though this might be a little out there, until we went online and saw that there’s now a “Blue Apron” for dog meals, Nom Nom Now. Customers can order a particular recipe that’s prepared fresh (the website showed all the ingredients portioned out in measuring cups) and then packaged for portion control. A weekly meal plan of 14 meals (4 lbs of food for an 18-lb dog) is $36.27 or if you choose the every two weeks option of 28 meals (9 lbs) it’s $28.38 a week.
There’s also similar fresh-food delivery from PetPlate and Ollie. For a 55-lb. dog PetPlate runs about $9.59 a day; while Ollie is $8.04.
Pictures of the food online all look like dog food, while Stanley’s meals look like people food (in case that’s of interest to your dog).