Like many of us, Frank is a very discerning diner. His tastes skew toward proteins — especially turkey — and he’d rather skip the processed stuff, thank you very much. Also like many of us, when he dines out at restaurants, he gets excited and eats a little fast. He’s working on slowing down and savoring his bites, but come on, sometimes the food is just too good.
Unlike many of us, though, this restaurant-goer is an 11-month-old rescue dachshund. Yes, Frank is a dog, and also yes, Frank eats at restaurants.
Frank’s owner, Ryan Chadwick, happens to own a restaurant in Aspen — Mr. Grey — and this summer he (Chadwick; not Frank) decided to add a dedicated dog menu to Mr. Grey’s human menu.
“Aspen appreciates it,” Chadwick said of the dog food offerings. “I kind of wish we would have done this a few years ago.”
Recently, more restaurants have started catering (literally) to canines via dedicated dog menus that go beyond sneaking table scraps to little Bella. Restaurants are cooking up eggs, bacon, chicken, hamburger patties and fish specifically for dogs — the premise being that dogs need to eat, too. And if their owners are willing to spend $10 for their pooches to have a nice meal, well, these restaurants are willing to take their money, doggone it.
Colorado frequently ranks high on lists of the most dog-friendly states, so it was only a matter of time before restaurants cashed in on the fact that little Charlie needs to be by our side every minute, and we’re willing to spend top dollar for him to eat with us, and that, really, he’s just such a good boy.
Of course, our Debbie Downer responsible government makes laws about this sort of thing, so our pooches aren’t allowed inside most establishments. Regulations vary by city, but for the most part, our beloved canine companions are relegated to properly permitted and signed outdoor areas, must remain leashed, must be current on all vaccinations and need to stay off the furniture.
RELATED: Nine Denver-area bars where you can drink with your pup on National Dog Day Aug. 26
Chadwick considered whether letting Mr. Grey’s patio go to the dogs might deter dog-less customers, but he said that even people without dogs haven’t minded the new, furry al fresco diners, noting that the inside dining area at the restaurant is always animal-free.
“We’re going to keep it going for as long we can,” Chadwick said.
If kibble just isn’t cutting it for your best dogs ever, here’s where to take them for a menu all their own.
Mr. Grey’s dog diners eat their meals out of single-use bowls with their names written on them. (“It’s a good Instagram moment,” Chadwick said.)
For the humans: Part New England seafood shack, part Aspen cool, people can chow down on East Coast oysters and classic steak frites.
For the dogs: The $10 steamed veggies with beef, turkey or pork entrees all come from The Farmer’s Dog, a human-grade, fresh pet food company. (Frank the dachshund won’t eat anything else.)
305 S. Mill St., Aspen, 970-925-1797; mrgreyaspen.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
If your pug had a late night and can’t bear the thought of emerging from her room early for breakfast, rest assured: The tony Beaver Creek property has dog food on its in-room dining menu, so puggy can sleep late and dine when it’s convenient for her.
For the humans: The usual hotel food — continental breakfast, pizza, burgers and salads.
For the dogs: Ground beef, scrambled eggs and rice for the purebreed price of $15.
0130 Daybreak Ridge Road, Avon, 970-748-6200; ritzcarlton.com
Lazy Dog Restaurant
This California chain is a perfect Colorado fit. Rules at the two Front Range locations include urging our four-legged friends to avoid the three B’s: begging, barking and biting. (Good advice for the two-legged friends, too.)
For the humans: The expansive menu has everything from calamari to Cajun fries.
For the dogs: Snack on plain brown rice for $2.50 or a chicken breast or hamburger patty for $4.95.
24110 E. State Ave., Aurora, 719-372-5724 and 14618 Delaware St., Westminster, 720-459-5613; lazydogrestaurants.com
Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard
This Colorado-based fast food joint is so into dogs that it donates a portion of sales of its PawBenders, a pup sundae, to the Dumb Friends League, Freedom Service Dogs of America and the Larimer Humane Society.
For the humans: As the name suggests, there are burgers and frozen custard, but there are also green chile-soaked breakfast burritos.
For the dogs: Ice cream for dogs? This is 2019 and far, far more ridiculous things are happening in the world. The PawBender is a cup of vanilla frozen custard topped with biscuits and peanut butter, because everyone — and every dog — deserves a treat once in a while.
Various locations; goodtimesburgers.com
The Watering Bowl
If eating and drinking at a dog park is on your summer bucket list, then The Watering Bowl is for you. The tavern’s top amenity is a 7,000-square-foot, fully fenced dog park.
For the humans: The pizza challenge — Eat the 36-inch Monster pie in an hour or quicker and get it free. (Sorry; humans only. You’ll have to pay the $38 if your pooch wants to give it a go.)
For the dogs: Grab — or maybe not grab, because we’re talking about dogs here — 10 organic peanut butter and yogurt treats for $8, or celebrate special occasions with custom doggie cakes ($18; pre-order recommended).
5411 Leetsdale Drive, Denver, 303-591-9069; denverwateringbowl.com
Pub Dog Colorado
As a membership club (a 3 percent membership fee is added to the bill), your dog can eat with you inside, but the 3,000-square-foot off-leash dog park might be more fun anyway.
For the humans: A Bark Mi sandwich, Dog Pile nachos and a BBQ Chicken Quesadilla. (What, no canine name for that one?)
For the dogs: Pupsicles, patties, bacon and veggies go for $2 to $5 each.
2207 Bott Ave., Colorado Springs, 719-375-0771; pubdogcolorado.com
Ugly Dog Sports Cafe
The North Denver sports bar features the winning combo of an outdoor dog park and servers wearing sexy referee outfits.
For the humans: Hot dogs! Choose from Chicago- or New York-style, or build your own.
For the dogs: Options range from $2 bacon to the $10, more gourmet, signature bowl of eggs, bacon and a half-pound beef patty.
1345 Cortez St., Denver, 303-428-3600; uglydogsportscafe.com
The Little Nell
The Aspen hotel’s pet menu is available in the lobby, in the living room area and via room service, so unless Fido gets peckish in a hallway, he’s covered.
For the humans: The attached Ajax Tavern is known as an après-ski hot spot, but if you just don’t feel like making the scene, The Little Nell is happy to deliver the likes of antelope and lobster to your room.
For the dogs: Local (but of course) ground beef, grilled chicken breast and grilled salmon, all for the human entrée-sounding price of $18.
675 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-920-4600; thelittlenell.com
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