Sitting at my feet on the patio of T-Bones in Bedford, Nellie dined on hamburger topped with cheese and served over rice pilaf. For dessert, she mowed down a vanilla ice cream cone and a few made-from-scratch cookies.
She even cleaned up after herself, making sure no grain of rice or drip of ice cream was left behind on the restaurant’s stone patio.
Knowing that many pet owners, like myself, spoil their pups rotten, two local restaurants have gone to the dogs.
Tom Boucher, owner of T-Bones Great American Eatery and Cactus Jack’s, began offering dog-friendly dining at the T-Bones Bedford location about a month ago, allowing owners to choose a dish for their pup from the “Tails on the Terrace” menu. Among the menu items for man’s best friend are Boo’s Bacon Wrap Bites (smokey bacon wrapped around cheddar and Jack cheese), Zoe’s Gravy Train (steak tips with rich brown gravy) and The Moe Bowl (a blend of ground beef, rice, cheese and bacon bits).
“It’s just people food made into items that dogs would eat,” Boucher said, noting that many menu tiems are named after his family’s three dogs. Photos of Boucher’s dogs and pups owned by staff members are featured on the menu. All dog-friendly dishes cost less than $5, and each dog leaves with a T-shaped dog biscuit.
At T-Bones dogs are given a stainless steel bowl of water to wash down their dinners, which are served in ceramic bowls painted by Boucher’s wife, one of his partner’s daughters and a handful of neighborhood children at You’re Fired in Bedford. Boucher said his wife served as an inspiration for making the dog-friendly menu, as she is on the Animal Rescue League board of directors and has visited many places that offer similar events, such as the “Yappier Hour” at The Liberty Hotel in Boston.
Canines are welcome on the Bedford patio daily throughout the summer, but Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m. are advertised as “a little gathering for dog fanatics,” Boucher said. Boucher said he has not yet considered opening up the decks of other T-Bones and Cactus Jack’s locations to four-legged diners.
Dogs are also allowed anytime on the deck at Beefside restaurant in Concord.
“We love dogs … and we have the ability to do it, so why not do it?” said Beefside owner Sue Ray. Beefside does not offer a dogs-only menu, but Ray said many customers will order a junior roast beef for their pups to snack on.
Dogs must be kept on their leashes while dining at both eateries and also be on their best behavior. The back of the menu at T-Bones has a list of “Barking Orders” – regulations of dog dining.
“We have the right to ask someone to leave or put their dog in the car if another guest is uncomfortable,” Boucher said.
Owners are responsible for not allowing their dogs to have accidents on the terrace. A grassy island in the middle of the parking lot has become the unofficial designated spot for walking dogs after dinner.
“We think most dog owners know when their dog needs to go to the bathroom,” Boucher said noting that the curbed island is far from the terrace.