The 10 best Twin Cities dog friendly restaurants


Minnesota joined the civilized world in 2008 by lifting the ban on dogs in restaurants. Since then, scores of restaurants and bars have opened their tables to Canine Americans and their people. Grab a leash and come hungry; we’ve gone through and picked out our favorite ten Twin Cities dog friendly restaurants.

But, hurry! There’s only a month left before most of these restaurants close their door to dogs until next spring. Carpus canus!


1. First Course (Minneapolis)

(Quigley the puppy meets future customer Matilda and her parents at First Course.)

First Course is a Nokomis neighborhood restaurant at 5607 Chicago Ave., across from Todd Park and is known for its upscale bistro menu and a casual vibe. On warm evenings (or during the weekend brunch) you can bring your dog and sit under their Prussian blue patio umbrellas on the cozy sidewalk-turned-terrace. The full-service wait staff loves the dogs, bringing bowls of cold water for your pooch and sometimes, taking their photos. There’s a large wine and beer selection and some lovely tapas – tiny plates on which sits little bites of perfection. Order a tapas for your dog as well as for yourself. Open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, and until 10 p.m. weekends.


2. J&S Bean Factory (St. Paul)

(John Bradley brings his two basset hounds, Otto and Edna to J&S Bean Factory on a summer afternoon.)

Located a block from Snelling Ave. in St. Paul, J&S Bean Factory is a hip (but not trendy) local coffee shop with a large and beautiful shaded patio, where dogs come to hang out with their people. (You may recognize J & S from their booth in the Farmer’s Union the State Fair.) In addition to an extensive choice of more than 30 coffees from around the world, roasted on site daily, J&S offers pastries from P.J. Murphy’s, La Patisserie and Big City Doughnuts. The patio tables are large and the chairs comfortable. Bowls of cool water are at dog level. Open until 10 p.m., Sundays until 9 p.m. 1518 Randolph Ave.


3. Fat Lorenzo’s (Minneapolis)

(At Fat Lorenzo’s, you can share your pizza with your pup.)

After a walk around Lake Nokomis, bring your dog to this award winning Italian pizza, pasta and hoagie restaurant, at 5600 Cedar Ave. on the edge of South Minneapolis. Fat Lorenzo’s chewy crust pizzas have been drawing customers to their doors for the last 27 years. You’ve probably seen their red awning and the bright murals painted by Twin Cities artist Ed Charbonneau. Dogs can sit at tables at this corner restaurant and bark hello at other dogs in passing cars.

Share a bite of your meal with your dog, or order your pup a single meatball ­– the folks at Fat’s are happy to oblige. Beer and wine is available. So is a rotating choice of intensely flavored, creamy gelatos, made right in Fat’s kitchens and named by CBS News as the best in Minnesota. Open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and until 11 p.m. on weekends.


4. Galaxy Drive-In (St. Louis Park)

(Dogs get special attention at Galaxy Drive-In.)

Galaxie Drive-In is on the frontage road off Highway 7, at 3712 Quebec Avenue South (where Wagner’s used to be). It’s a season only, retro, outer space themed restaurant with signs that say, “Aliens, humans and all our four-legged friends welcome.” Galaxy focuses on burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings and fountain drinks with plates of ribs, fried chicken, and cheese curds also on the menu. Eat in your car (you do have a Corvair, don’t you?) or on Galaxy’s picnic tables on grassy areas designed to make dogs happy. There are fire pits – come on Saturday nights for the bonfires and kids roasting marshmallows. Doggie bones cost $1.25. Doggie cones are FREE! Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


5. Sweeney’s Saloon (St. Paul)

(Sweeney’s welcomes dogs.)

Sweeney’s Saloon, at 96 Dale St. N., has bar food, sandwiches, burgers and an extensive choice of beers, wine and liquors. Your dog will love their beautiful patio, which is a multi-level outdoor space with a large stone fireplace, a canopy of trees, heaters for chilly nights and a full outside bar.

“Its such a dog friendly bar,” said customer Liz Derry. “There are dogs hanging out everywhere. It’s fun.”

The patio can get crowded, especially during happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until close), but if your dog doesn’t mind you’ll both have a great time. Open 11 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.


6. Nomad World Pub (Minneapolis)

(At Nomad’s you can bring your dog and choose a patio seat or a seat inside.)

It doesn’t get any better for dogs than Nomad World Pub, located at 501 Cedar Ave. S on the West Bank. Choose between the two patios (one cozy, one really huge,) with bocce courts, a stone fireplace, and an outside bar. Some members of Nomad’s staff bring their own dogs to work. Best of all, since the Nomad World Pub sells no food, just drinks, you can bring your dog INSIDE the bar. That means, once summer is over, you still have a place to relax with your best friend that’s not your living room.

Nomad also hosts off-leash parties and dog rescue fund-raisers, including one called “Beer with Your Buddy.” Order wine, cocktails or check out their extensive list of local, imported and domestic beers and ciders. You may want to think twice, I was told, about bringing your dog after 10:00 pm. “We have loud music and it can hurt the dog’s ears.” But, you can let your dog join in with karaoke, trivia contest and art exhibitions. Open 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. weekends.


7. Tin Fish (Minneapolis)

(Jayne Solinger brings Lola, a golden lab and the pugs Dexter and Cleo for dinner at Tin Fish.)

Located on Lake Calhoun, Tin Fish has a large and varied menu that includes conch, calamari, crab cakes, fish tacos and sandwiches, grilled and fried fish and seafood, a variety of chicken dishes and even some 10 oz. burgers. It’s actually part of a chain, but it doesn’t seem that way. Place an order at the counter (lines can be long), then find a table and your server will find you. The large patio on the lake is beautiful and you can find scores of people and their dogs watching the sunsets and sailboats.

Owner Athena Priest greets all the dogs, some by name. “Everyone is welcome,” she said. “I have a big dog clientele. But, when the dogs come to the window they have to sit to get a treat. We’re a place where people bring service dogs in training.”

Hours vary by season. Labor Day through mid-October, open noon to 7:30 p.m.


8. Sandcastle (Minneapolis)

Sandcastle is in its second year. Located at the main beach of Lake Nokomis, the little building was once a place for kids to get ice cream bars and candy until Chef Doug Flicker (Piccolo!) took it over. The menu includes a BLT, sweet pea falafel wrap, a BBQ pork sandwich, ceviche and two kinds of hot dogs. Sip wine, beer and cider as you watch the airplanes land and the ducks waddle. Dogs can stretch out under the table. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


9. Sea Salt Eatery (Minneapolis)

(Anita Feller, with Ollie and Bobbie Zelinsky, with Ginger, enjoy a Sea Salt lunch.)

Sea Salt is located in Minnehaha Park at 4825 Minnehaha Ave. The seafood-based, seasonal restaurant focuses a bit on upscale foods (oysters on the half shell, Andouile soup, po’boy sandwiches, Thai red curry shrimp with pineapple and their famous fish tacos). There’s no lake, but it’s located right next to Minnehaha Falls, and the creek and the park is beautiful. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through October.


10. Bread and Pickle (Minneapolis)

(A late summer view from the Bread and Pickle restaruant by the Bandshell.)

You can find Bread and Pickle at the Bandshell on Lake Harriet. The restaurant uses local ingredients with a menu focusing on seasonal hot and cold sandwiches, burgers and salads. Jog over with your dog on sunny mornings for breakfast sandwiches, scrambles, scones, fruit and muffins and the restaurant’s homemade dog treats; a dollar a bag. Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

Corrections: A previous version of this articles mispelled two names. The dog at J&S Bean is named Otto, and restaurant eight is Sea Salt.