Dogs, waffles and coffee … what better way to spend a Sunday? I feel so Parisian.
But I’m not in France. Nowhere near it.
I’m at Munchies Coffee House and BARKery in Hamilton, Ontario. Here your pouch can lie at your feet or even move about the room making new friends, like my Victor did (kind of). Despite this province’s ridiculous ‘health and safety’ law that bans dogs from even sitting on patios, Munchies has found ways … many ways… around both provincial and city laws to open my new favourite place in a city where favourite places are hard to come by.
Four years ago, owners Rosie and Gary Henein opened Munchies, at first for people and then for dogs too, and it wasn’t easy.
“Go ahead and try and do what we’ve done,” says Rosie who’s been in the bakery business with her family for decades. “We went through so much with the city to be allowed to do this; it would be challenging to reproduce.”
Rosie started negotiating with the city in 2009 pitching the idea to open an organic homemade dog treat bakery where people could come with their dogs. She first received a flat out ‘no.’
But where there’s a woof, there’s a way.
After three years of buracratic hoop jumping – “I said ‘yes’ to everything they said,” she explains. “I mean everything.”
At Munchies, the front seating area with tables lining the walls and a centre leather couch chill section is cordoned off from the kitchen and food prep area with a floor to ceiling window. You have to order and pick up food behind the glass, staff can’t touch or interact with the dogs, and there’s even special ventilation systems we can’t see.
Behind the glass is where the magic happens. This place is foremost a bakery and what’s cooking baking is worth the visit, even sans doggie. (Don’t take a friend that isn’t comfortable with dogs; but then again, why would you know such a person?)
There’s a least a dozen waffle combos to choose from including my choice – apple cinnamon – or double chocolate, a kid favourite. Fair Trade coffee is mandatory and so are four varieties of organic dog treats including Salmon or Chicken Sniffers, Apple Crisp Twists, Yam Yums and Peanut Butter Claw Tracks (Victor’s choice) beside a fridge full of raw Fido food and doggie take out.
As a result, today on a cool Canadian afternoon, I get to do what thousands of women in Paris do every weekend: I had brunch with my dog on my lap – indoors. Take that stupid provincial law.
Munchies Coffee House and BARKery is for dog people and even people looking for dogs. The Sunday I’m here, the place has an indoor dog park vibe because seven rescue Chihuahuas have arrived from Texas. People are dropping by to meet them after seeing the postings on Facebook.
Some, like Joey, are clearly mixed with terrier, but all are very social and cute as a knit sweater to fight the Canadian winter can make them. Within two hours, two are left including Joey, but more people are on their way – a set with their sights on him. It’s like an adoption party in here.
My schnoodle Victor is happy to meet new South-of-the-border buddies, mingle with a Corgi or two and sniff a Pomeranian. But it’s the Huskies and big furry dogs who set him off.
I don’t know why. I suspect he’s had a bad experience in a previous life (he’s had three homes before me) and he doesn’t even give them a chance. He defensively growls and snaps, even at the friendliest Malamute. So he’s on my lap. For now.
Or maybe for the rest of the visit, because he seems to have discovered his inner Parisian. His poodle side is at home with the lap-dog attention. And a bite or two of waffle.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Munchies Coffee House and BARKary is located at 1000 Uppper Gage Ave, #4 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (about 1 hour west of Toronto). Munchies is open Monday and Thursday, 11:30 am to 6 pm; Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sundays 10 am to 3 pm. Birthday cakes, both for people or dogs, are sold here along with raw dog food and natural shampoo for dogs and cats.
Check out other Hamilton hikes and waterfalls adventures here!
[…] and most afternoons there’s a group of dog people gathered over coffee. Speaking of coffee, Munchies is a coffee shop, and the quality rivals that of any bistro. The place is run by second generation bakers, so […]
[…] here). Thanks to that pandemic thing, I won’t be celebrating my birthday at nearby dog café Munchies Barkery or My Dog’s Café, both in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. But I hope to go there soon because Victor, […]
[…] Where did I spot this dapper pupper? Check out one of Ontario, Canada’s only dog-friendly cafes. […]
[…] claims status as Canada’s first café and restaurant for you and your dog. My crazy Victor first visited four years ago, and I’ve returned many times for apple waffles, despite the fact Munchies has 20 different sweet […]
[…] treats, grilled paninis and avocado toast, My Dog’s Café is Wendy’s full-time business. The second of its kind to open in Hamilton, where dogs can socialize with each other while people do the same over lunch. (There’s a third […]
[…] that have carefully sealed the food prep area from dog access granting them permits to operate. (Check out another here). Cafe, restaurants and bakeries first, they’re dog playgrounds second and occasionally […]
[…] Stop: Munchies Barkery and Cafe in Hamilton, Ontario on December 3, 2106. For $10, we got a digital photo and supported two […]
What a fabulous place! I’m so glad they were able to work around local restrictions. The fact that adoptions take place there is icing on the biscuit! We have those laws in the US too, no dogs inside any place that serves food unless they’re service dogs. There are places that are dog friendly on the patio though.
Love & biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
Yes I can understand not inside a restaurants (though if no one is being poisoned when a service dog walks in..?) but outdoors is too far. Birds flying around are bigger contaminants. In big cities you can sometimes sneek dogs onto the patio if the staff don’t know the laws, or likely don’t care.
Sounds like a great spot to visit in Hamilton. Will check out your other posts too. I have to look into the rules as we are planning our road trip web series. Certain cafes let me bring Kilo to sit on the patio and even order at various locations in Toronto (oops, maybe they just didn’t see him on the ground beside me). I was wondering why the Brickworks restaurant would not allow on the patio.
Personally, I’m finding the law to be practiced on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ basis. Or, to be more Canadian, it’s on the books but not enforced until someone complains. Some managers are more intense about it.. “If the health inspector walks by, I’ll get fined” I’ve heard them say. But that’s likely more of a reflection of their own feeling about dogs because I have yet to see a health inspector strolling the streets of T.O. like cops.
Wow, that looks like so much fun, I’m so glad Rosie was determined to make it happen!
Yes, we’re going back this week. Just have to watch for huskies…
This place looks pretty cool! A pet friendly patio would be great, maybe the health codes can be changed.
I hope so. There was a greater outcry when they made patios smoke free.
What a nice place to visit and to be able to take your dog.
I truly wish we had somewhere like this!!! It is crazy what they had to go through. if the owner wants it and guest know how or what it is – why not? geesh!
Exactly. That’s what I think. Open a dog cafe and people who don’t like dog (iky people) don’t go there. I don’t get it either.
Sounds like a great place – now we want to try it!! Living in Seattle – boy, it’s a dog loving town and we have all sorts of dog-friendly restaurants, outdoor pubs, coffee shops – and dogs be allowed nearly everywhere! Glad you are helping to make a change 🙂
People have told me I’d love Seattle!
How cool is that? Sounds like an awesome place to take your dog along.
It is … If he doesn’t cause problems with huskies like mine did.
what a great idea! Wish we had something like this in our area.
I wish there where more…
I absolutely love this idea. Wish there was something similar in our area.
What a great place! In Denver dogs are not allowed in most stores and definitely not in restaurants. When I was visiting San Fran I was surprised how many dogs were eating in the actual restaurants. I love it.
In Paris some animals live in the restaurants. Enjoyed a crepe and had the house dog come to see how I was doing.
I’ve wondered if places like this existed! With the “cat cafes” becoming so popular these days, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t heard of dog cafes. Glad that you’ve got such a cool hangout spot!
Yes I hung out a bit too long… Will be back.
What a great example of dreaming big, persevering and then conquering! Great story. 🙂
She told me it took years. When she brought in the final application a city hall employee said, ‘hey we had some apply with this idea a few years ago.’ And she said, ‘ yes, that was me. ‘
This is awesome! Dogs are allowed on the majority of the patios here (and if not, it’s up to the restaurant, not the health board). But we can’t take dogs indoors.
Fortunately, that’s true of most places other than Ontario.
I wish there were more places like this close to me in Toronto. I think I see a road trip to Hamilton with Edie coming up in the near future!
I recommend it and taking the dog on any of the waterfall trails.
Awesome! We’ve found quite a few restaurants around us that will serve you outside if you want to sit down with your dog, but not inside.
I found a place in Door County, WI that not only had a dog friendly patio, the had a dog menu … With steak.
You had me hooked with the very first sentence! This place sounds like a wonderful spot – especially for lazy weekends! I want to visit!
It’s small but great vibe.
Sounds like a great place to take your dog. Do you know the reasoning for not letting dogs on restaurant patios?
They (the province) claims it’s a health and safety issue. Pets can’t be near food – even outdoors. Squirrels, I guess, are extremely sanitary. There’s a lot I like about this province, but we are over regulated. I think it should be up to the restaurant owner to decide.
I agree. Let the owner decide. If people don’t come because of it, then, they’ll change back. I guess I understand not wanting them in the kitchen area, but to be on a patio seems reasonable.