Canine café offers $75 tasting menu for pampered pups
San Francisco is a foodie city, with more than 50 Michelin Star restaurants in the SF Bay Area, one of the highest concentrations in the country.
And San Francisco loves dogs. It’s said that there are more dogs living in the city than there are children.
So it might come as no surprise that a San Francisco entrepreneur has decided to combine the two passions, creating what’s believed to be the first fine dining tasting menu restaurant exclusively for man’s best friend.
Dogue, which rhymes with vogue, just opened up in the city’s Mission District.
For 75 dollars per pup, doggie diners get a multiple course “bone appetite” meal featuring dishes like chicken skin waffles and filet mignon steak tartar with quail eggs.
It also includes a mimosa and a treat for the pup’s person.
Rahmi Massarweh, a classically trained chef, decided to leave his stressful job running a fine dining restaurant for people to focus on his new canine cafe.
Some critics online have expressed outrage over the price point for the pampered pets, pointing out income inequality, gentrification and homelessness in the city.
For the cost of the tasting menu, you could buy at least five burritos at one of the many nearby taquerias in the Mission neighborhood.
But Massarweh says, since opening a month ago, he’s received overwhelming support from his customers who appreciate having a place to pamper their pups.
On a recent Sunday, Dogue hosted three fur baby birthday parties simultaneously.
“I wanted to celebrate him. He is so special to me. He’s my four-legged child and this is like the perfect place to do a really nice celebration,” Gledy Espinoza said as her 11-year-old miniature dachshund Mason enjoyed a bowl of mushroom soup with slices of chicken breast. “We’re foodies too. I guess he is too now.”
Massarweh spends hours cooking and prepping for his service and says a similar menu for humans could cost up to $500 in the expensive city.
And he says the ingredients he uses are not cheap. Everything is human grade, although if you took a bite, you’d probably find the doggie dishes to be a bit bland for the human palate.
Massarweh says the real goal of Dogue is to raise awareness about feeding your dog fresh, healthy, natural ingredients which some research shows can be easier on your pup’s stomach than mass-produced dog food.
He says he consults with a veterinarian to ensure all of Dogue’s meals are safe and contribute to a balanced diet.
“I’ve worked in restaurants for many years, and it’s rare when as a chef, I walk into the dining room to touch tables and every single guest has a smile on their face,” Massarweh said. “There’s something very unique and satisfying about that.”