Finding a good restaurant that welcomes dogs is enough to make any canine owner break into a proverbial happy dance. Nothing prompts the feeling of guilt faster than sitting on a warm patio in the sunshine while your dog is stuck inside at home. Say goodbye to that stigma when you visit these eight spots that not only welcome dogs but cater to them. With lush dog beds and organic treats your pooch will be waiting by the door for their next culinary adventure.
Nando Milano Trattoria
Named after the chef’s Italian dachshund, Nando Milano Trattoria is a hidden gem on Division and Hoyne in Wicker Park. The extensive wine list, cozy dimly lit interior and stunning patio lined with florals drawn you in, the food makes you wish you lived next door. With an almost entirely Italian staff, Nando’s is a tasting mecca. The menu showcases ingredients from every region of Italy, which gives diners the opportunity to sample an abundance of flavors from this rich culinary landscape. And while dogs are encouraged on the patio, be sure to let your canine know he or she won’t be getting any scraps because you’ll be licking your plate clean.
Must Try: The Gnocchi Della Nonna. Filled with Gorgonzola cheese, these cloudlike pearls of pasta are drenched in a creamy tomato garlic sauce that instantly melts in your mouth. This indispensable Italian pasta dish is arguably one of the best in the city.
2114 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622
Baker & Nosh
One of the first things you will notice upon entering Baker & Nosh is a bowl of gourmet dog treats ready for the taking. If you sit on the decidedly simple patio for longer than 10 minutes you will see almost every dog that walks by throws its attention at the bakery door. It’s because they know what lives inside. The peanut butter based, banana, oatmeal and egg treats are a favorite amongst the neighborhood dogs. And while you sip on coffee and tea and enjoy delicious pastries, homemade breads and many other seasonal selections you can rest assured knowing that your dog is enjoying his artisanal experience just as much as you are.
Must Try: The Rustic Fruit Tart. With a delicately caramelized sugar crust and plump and flavorful blueberries, this flakey tart is one for the taking. You would also be remiss not to try the chocolate chip cookies.
1303 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640
Parlor Pizza Bar
From a distance it might not be abundantly obvious that dogs are allowed on the large, fenced in patio at Parlor Pizza Bar in Wicker Park. However, once seated you’ll notice many eyes peering at you from under the tables with tails wagging. Boasting a build your own Bloody Mary bar and mimosas your way, the weekend brunch scene at Parlor is nothing short of fun. The menu is home to mouthwatering appetizers, salads, burgers, and sandwiches, and of course, pizza. Each pizza is as unique as the next. Ranging from pepperoni and white truffle oil (Sgt. Pepper) to pizza topped with shaved gyro meat, feta cheese, tzatziki and cucumber (Don’t be a Gyro), there is a pizza here for every taste and the crust is always crispy and charred.
Must Try: Ancho Pork Tacos. Everything is better with quail eggs, pork tacos included. The ancho marinated pork loin that sits atop the homemade tortillas is extra crispy. Topped with stunning sunny side up quail eggs and garnished with roasted poblano chilies and tomatillo and radish pico de gallo, you’ll be full after three tacos but you’ll wish there were four.
1824 West Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Once seated on the patio at Cantina 1910 the waitress brings your dog a bowl of water and takes your drink order. Before the first libation hits your lips your pup is presented with their own beautiful little plate of homemade dog treats, stamped with a paw of approval (literally). From that point on you’re free to order from the newly revamped menu conceptualized by executive chef, Scott Schulman. With a medley of small and shared plates, bright ceviches, tacos and heartier seafood and meat options, this refreshing new take is an elevated look at Mexican cuisine. And don’t forget to peek at the dessert menu, the icy Cherry Raspado is outdoor dining’s new best friend.
Must Try: Pork Belly. Thick-cut cubes of pork belly sit in a decadent pork jus. The accompanying citrus, thinly sliced radishes, pureed fried tortillas and pureed pablano make it a sweet, savory and spicy dish. It excites multiple senses and incites you to experience food in a refreshing new way.
5025 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
Bacino’s Italian Grill
The adorable Bacino’s Italian Grill is tucked away on the Diversey Harbor and features all outdoor seating. With the option to grab a table, a cozy lounge chair or curl up with your pooch on a Bacino’s blanket, it’s a relaxing oasis. The menu features a wide range of casual fare — think burgers, wraps, pizza and sandwiches, and with beanbags and boards at your disposal, you feel like you are hanging out in a friend’s backyard. Except this friend knows how to cook a wide array of delicious food, has a selection of craft beer on tap and a wine bar.
Must Try: Caprese Salad. Made with fresh mozzarella, juicy red tomatoes, basil and dressed in a balsamic reduction, this dish is ideal for elevated picnicking.
248 West Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60686
Home Run Inn
From its frozen pizzas to its eight restaurants, Home Run Inn is a Chicago staple. The newest location at Sheffield and Belmont is home to a bustling sidewalk patio. Known for their buttery crust, the smell of the iconic pizza will make your dog wish he were human for a day. For those that prefer spice, take note of the “Flame Thrower” options featuring a selection of pizzas that pack some serious heat. And while pizza is king, the appetizers, wings, salads and sandwiches are not to be ignored. You also don’t want to leave without sampling one of their many luxurious gourmet cupcakes. In addition to dining in, all items are available for carryout and delivery on the online ordering platform.
Must Try: Home Run Inn Signature Salad. A salad as delicious as pizza? It does exist. A romaine blend is mixed with crumbled bacon, plump black olives, crunchy sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, fresh Parmesan and flavorful marinated Fusilli pasta. To finish it’s tossed in a luscious Gorgonzola Italian dressing. Fair warning — you’ll want to eat this everyday for lunch.
3215 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Freestyle Food + Drink
Sometimes you and your dog need to relax at the same time, preferably with a cocktail in hand and a rawhide in mouth (you decide who gets which). Move this dual activity off the couch and onto the patio at Freestyle Food + Drink, located in the Dana Hotel. Upon sitting your pooch is presented with a full size dog bed where he or she can comfortably lounge or take a snooze. You may not be far behind them after indulging in their extensive cocktail list. The menu of sharable and small plates is full of light bites to complement each drink on the comfortable semi-secluded patio.
Must Try: Jungle Bird. It’s a scrumptious Bacardi based summer cocktail with fruit forward flavors and an edible flower garnish.
660 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654
Located at Ohio & St. Clair in Streeterville, Burrito Beach has the ultimate sidewalk patio for people watching with your pooch. The fast casual Mexican eatery features a “Beach Body Menu” for health conscious diners that still want to indulge in delectable tacos, burritos, chilies and more. With everything ringing in at less than 500 calories you don’t have to worry about giving into temptation.
Must Try: Mexican Organic Quinoa Salad. This fresh quinoa salad features a generous amount of creamy guacamole, salsa, crispy roasted red peppers and fat free black beans. It’s served on a bed of greens with a light sprinkle of shredded cheese and every bite is bursting with robust flavor.
200 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
Editor’s Note: Sadly, shortly after this article was published Cantina 1910 announced it was closing its doors due to “the rapidly changing labor market for the hospitality industry”.