SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise with many Michelin-starred restaurants. And San Franciscans love dogs. No wonder, then, that an entrepreneur decided to combine the two passions and found what is probably the first restaurant exclusively for man’s best friend.
Dogue, which rhymes with fashion, opened last month in the city’s hip Mission District.
For $75 a pup, pooch eaters get a multi-course “bone-in-the-mouth” meal with dishes like chicken skin waffles and filet mignon steak tartare with quail egg.
It also includes a mimosa and a baked treat for the pup’s human.
Rahmi Massarweh, a dog owner and classically trained chef, decided to quit his stressful job running an upscale restaurant to focus on his new dog cafe.
Some critics online have expressed outrage at the price of the spoiled pets, citing income inequality, gentrification and homelessness in the city. For the cost of the tasting menu, you could buy at least five large burritos at one of the many nearby taquerias in the Mission District.
But Massarweh says since opening a month ago he has had overwhelming support from his customers, who appreciate having a place to pamper their pups.
On a recent Sunday, Dogue threw three fur baby birthday parties at the same time.
“I wanted to celebrate him. He’s so special to me. He’s my four-legged child and this is the perfect place to throw a really fun celebration,” Gledy Espinoza said as her 11-year-old Miniature Dachshund Mason enjoyed a bowl of mushroom soup with chicken breast strips. “We are gourmets. I guess he is now too.”
Massarweh spends hours cooking and prepping for his ministry, and says a similar menu could cost as much as $500 for people in the expensive city, and the ingredients he uses don’t come cheap. Everything is human-friendly, although if you took a bite you’d probably find the dog dishes a bit bland for human palates.
“When we prepare our food, it is a process. It’s very time consuming. There is a lot of technology. There’s a lot of method and detail in what we do,” he said. “The production of our baked goods, for example, takes about two days on average. I know they’ll be eaten in two seconds.”
Massarweh said Dogue’s real goal is to raise awareness about feeding your dog fresh, healthy and natural ingredients, which some research shows are easier on your pup’s stomach than mass-produced dog food and can keep dog parents happy .
“I’ve worked in restaurants for many years and it’s rare that as a chef I walk into the dining room to touch tables and every single guest has a smile on their face,” said Massarweh. “There’s something very unique and satisfying about that.”
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