Doggy Dining is Big in Ohio…In Some Places

You’ll be surprised to know that, of the 12 states recognized as having “dog-friendly” restaurants, Ohio has made the list. No state has laws allowing pets into the enclosed areas of a restaurant, but if they offer outdoor seating, there are 12 states that readily welcome it. This extends to restaurants that are mostly indoors but may have an open area to the outside, which would still be considered an “outside patio” area.

The difficulty is finding these dog-loving places. Some restaurants will say they “allow” service dogs, but that’s only because it’s the law. Under the American Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is a “working animal and not a pet.” This type of animal is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

The only time a restaurant can refuse a service animal access to their establishment is if the animal is being aggressive or the handler is unable to control the animal.

Service dogs aside, Ohio did pass House Bill 263 in 2018, which now allows dogs to dine with their owners in restaurants that offer outdoor patio areas. Although this law has made it possible for many restaurants to allow dogs, many places still haven’t caught on or have chosen not to.

However, those that have deserve to be noted. In our surrounding area, there is one that’s worth mentioning first. Ducky’s Pub & Grill in Butler (9 Cleveland Street) is a popular restaurant where dogs are not only welcome but encouraged. They even keep a bowl of fresh water available for dogs under the jukebox.

The Open Door Café in Lucas (252 W. Main Street) offers outdoor seating where you can bring your dog to dine with you.

There’s also Oak Park Tavern & Restaurant in Mansfield (2919 State Route 430) that encourages canine diners in their outdoor seating.

Also, Doc’s Deli, by the hospital (424 Glessner) offers outdoor dining where you may also bring your pooch companion.

There were a couple of places I was told allowed dogs in their outdoor areas (Relax, It’s Just Coffee in Mansfield and Fast Eddie’s Pizza in Bellville), but they haven’t responded yet to my inquiries, so I’m not certain if they still do. You may want to check with them first.

There might not be a lot of choices near us, but now that summer is coming (eventually!), it would be good to know what dog-friendly restaurants are out there worth visiting. If you like to travel with your pets, then knowing of a pet-friendly establishment could be just the reason to go there while passing through.

Gresso’s in Columbus (961 S. High Street) caught my attention because it has a large, enclosed outdoor dining area. Though there were several others listed in Columbus, I was concerned by their proximity to the street and lack of enclosure.

A few more I would recommend in the Columbus area are:

  • Hofbrauhaus Columbus (800 Goodale Blvd.), which has a sign welcoming dogs and offering treats.
  • La Chatelaine (1550 W. Lane Ave.), a French bakery and Bistro with a very nice outdoor patio.
  • The Roosevelt Coffeehouse (300 E. Long St.), which isn’t just coffee, but entire meals and their outdoor seating is completely enclosed.

In the Cleveland area, some places that are recommended:

  • Fat Cats (2061 W. 10th St.), but you won’t see any cats there. The outdoor dining is more indoor-like than outdoor, and very cozy.
  • Luxe Kitchen (6605 Detroit Ave.) is an upscale dining experience where you get to bring your dog. This is a rare place and one you won’t want to miss.
  • Lindey’s Lake House (1146 Old River Road) gives you a view of the lake and a place to eat, relax, and have your dogs with you.

To locate more dog-friendly places around Ohio, check out which offers not only restaurants but hotels and other venues that are dog-friendly.

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