After the first dog café hit Los Angeles, Brooklyn is next.
Named BYOD, as in “bring your own dog,” the dog-friendly restaurant is set to open in 2017 and will most likely be located in the Prospect Heights or Crown Heights area of Brooklyn.
Founded by Verena Erhart and Lauren Hanlon, BYOD will feature a seasonal vegetarian menu with delicious entrees, but don’t expect any ingredients that could harm dogs, like chocolate, to be included. Beer, wine, coffee and other beverages will also be served throughout the day, while dogs can enjoy treats and lap up water. There is also the possibility of having an outdoor mini dog run.
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To work around the Department of Health (DOH) rule of no dogs allowed in restaurants, BYOD will have a set up similar to Manhattan’s cat cafe Koneko. There will be two, separate spaces – one for food preparation and the other for eating and hanging with dogs.
“We are working with a consultant to help us navigate all the DOH regulations,” says Hanlon. “We, by necessity, are getting creative with construction in how to separate where the food is prepared and where the dogs will be.”
If you don’t have a dog, no worries. Anyone can come and BYOD will be hosting adoption events for people looking to find their four-legged best friend.
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BYOD was dreamed up about a year ago. Erhart and Hanlon both separately dreamed of the dog restaurant before randomly meeting. Erhart hails from Europe and saw dogs often in cafes, while Hanlon has lived in Denver, and always “wondered why no one was at the local dog parks selling warm coffee in winter, or a cold beer in summer.”
Hanlon’s fiancé, Todd Holtry, and Erhart worked together at swanky Manhattan restaurant Eleven Madison Park and one day, “Verena asked Todd what I did for a living and he said, ‘she works in IT, but has always dreamed of opening a dog friendly café,'” recalls Hanlon. “We all went to dinner a week later. That was 10 months ago.”
Erhar and Hanlon started a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs and get BYOD off the ground. They are currently raising $35,000 on Kickstarter and need to meet that goal for it to get funded. The last day to donate is Jan. 6.
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“We are so excited for this venture and it has already been a dream come true!” says Hanlon. “We are opening first in Brooklyn but ultimately plan to take BYOD nationwide since we feel city dwellers all over the country, and the world, for that matter, face the same issue.”