Doggie Diner | Sunderland | Tyne and Wear

The first time that we heard about Doggie Diner was in 2016 when they won the Be Dog Friendly Award for the best dog friendly café/ restaurant in the UK. Luckily we have family in the North East so it didn’t take long for an opportunity to come up for us to visit!

The best way we can describe Doggie Diner is as ‘a human friendly dog café’!

All dogs are welcome in the diner – young, old, big, small, quiet or verbose. It’s a haven for owners who are looking for somewhere to relax, socialise and enjoy a drink or bite to eat with their dogs.

The inside of the diner is very spacious with a large seating area, a section selling various accessories, treats and toys, and a doggie play area where you can let your dogs off their leads to socialise (under supervision).

Elsa was very eager to have a good look around so we took her into the play area so that she could explore.

 She was soon joined by another little pooch who wanted to play!

Unfortunately Elsa gave her the cold shoulder and decided that she’d rather sample the treats on the menu instead.

The Doggie Diner has an amazing range of treats available including biscuits, pucakes, doggie ice cream, dog beer and even Pawsecco!

They also stock a range of Lily’s Kitchen products along with ‘Organic Barkery’ biscuits which come in familiar shapes like Jammy Dodgers, Bourbon Creams and Custard Creams!

Menus |  There are three menus at Doggie Diner: one for Hounds, one for Humans and one with a selection of Drinks

On the Hound menu you can find things ‘Doggie Afternoon Tea’ with chunks of cheese, woofins, bonescuits and pupcakes! They also serve doggie popcorn and iced treats made by Billie & Margot.

 We ordered Elsa a cookie and she didn’t waste any time eating it, we didn’t even get a chance to take a picture and it was gone! She can be a bit picky with food and treats sometimes so this one must have been good.

It was breakfast time so we decided to get a bacon sandwich from the Human menu. They also serve a range of freshly baked paninis, sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. The drinks menu has a full range of coffees and teas as well as soft drinks.

We met several other customers and spent some time chatting about our dogs, dog friendly places around the UK and even picked up some tips about dog friendly Scotland from the owner of a gorgeous Bearded Collie. Elsa loved meeting the other four-legged customers too. It was nice to be in a café where we felt completely at ease with letting Elsa be herself, including the occasional excited bark, without enduring the judgemental stares from non-dog owners.

One of the best things about Doggie Diner is the atmosphere, it’s the sort of place that we would visit and meet up with friends on a weekly basis… if only there was a Diner in our local town!

We were excited to hear that Doggie Diner are looking to develop their existing operations through new strategic franchise partnerships. They will give you all the guidance needed to open your own Doggie Diner anywhere in the country!

In fact the first franchise store has already successfully opened in Blackhall Colliery near Hartlepool and is attracting a lot of customers! This one is definitely on our list to visit the next time we are in the area.

We would be so pleased if a Doggie Diner opened in the Midlands! If you are interested in learning more please click here for full details.

Events at Doggie Diner | The diner also hosts a range of public and private events including puppy social mornings and dog birthday parties!

 It wasn’t hard to see why Doggie Diner was given the award for the most dog friendly café/ restaurant in the UK at the Be Dog Friendly Awards 2016; they are wholeheartedly devoted to their canine customers. The service is excellent, the staff are extremely friendly and you can tell that everyone there absolutely LOVES being around dogs.

 We asked Adrienne Dickson, the franchise owner, a few questions for Paws across Britain:

 

Why did you decide to open a diner that caters for dogs as well as humans?

I retired from my previous job as a financial adviser and thought I had time for a dog, so got my first puppy and then realised when friends wanted me to meet up for coffee and lunch that I was always clock watching to get back for him. So thought it would be a good idea to be able to lunch out with him and the idea of the café came about.

We travelled quite a distance to visit you. Do you get a lot of customers doing the same, or would you say the majority of your customers are locals/ regulars?

We do have people travel from afar and have seen diners from Aberdeen, Portsmouth, Swindon and Nottingham to name but a few. The majority are regulars after their first visit with some customers visiting 4-5 times a week.

Do most of your customers bring dogs with them?

80% have dogs with them but lots of people do come without who just like being around dogs and don’t want one due to the commitment. 

What are your most popular human treats?

The most popular human treats would be the paninis. Out whole menu was designed to be food to eat with one hand so you can still control your dogs lead with the other. 

What are your most popular dog treats?

The fresh biscuits such as woofins, pupcakes and paw cookies are the most popular. 

Do you host seasonal events throughout the year?

We’ve played host to sponsored walks, plus agility team Christmas parties and puppy litter reunions so yes a wide variety of events. We also have a pop up stall we take to select dog shows throughout the year. 

Are your customers always well behaved?

The vast majority are very well behaved but if ever there’s a problem it’s usually to do with another doggie trying to pinch someone else’s treats! haha

What do your own dogs make of the Diner? Do they enjoy spending time there?

My dog loves the diner and will bark at the kitchen entrance until his sausages are served. All our staff are dog lovers and dog owners and their dogs all visit and love the place. 

We would like to thank Adrienne and everyone at the Doggie Diner in Sunderland for making us feel so welcome! We really enjoyed our visit and will definitely be back again.

Doggie Diner

41 Sea Rd, Sunderland SR6 9BS

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    April 26, 2017 / 6:41 am

    Unfortunately you fail to mention the fact that the 'play pen' always smells of urine, even if you are one of the first visitors.Take a look at the old cardboard box used to store the toys?! A place to harbour germs, also broken chewed toys which even the manufacturers say to discard once damaged. These toys should be checked regularly to ensure that they haven't got huge chunks/bites out of them. It's the most basic of errors, not to store them in a washable container and have clean unbroken toys. They also use a carrier bag to hang on the fence to store poo bags, another oversight. Surely a nice box on the wall would be far safer and pleasant on the eye? I'm unsure as to why people haven't picked up on these negative failings. The fact that the play area is right opposite the food serving area, all far too cramped and too close if a dog has an accident (or not such an accident as the artificial grass is their toilet area!). I honesty think that there are some very basic common sense errors in this dog cafe, it's not worthy of the accolades and such a positive review.

    • April 26, 2017 / 7:51 am

      Dear Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to read our post. Our review of Doggie Diner is based purely on our personal thoughts, experience and opinions and we respect that other people will have different views. Elsa didn't actually play with any of the toys in the box so we didn't really give that much thought. We also didn’t notice any offensive smell in the play area – perhaps it had been cleaned? However, you do raise a few very good points regarding the hygiene aspects. These are best addressed directly by Doggie Diner so I have passed your feedback on to them. Best Wishes, Paws across Britain

    • April 27, 2017 / 5:53 pm

      Response from Doggie Diner: " Dear Anon. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on Doggie Diner which we've taken onboard. Firstly I would advise that the bag containing clean and unused poo bags which hung on the fence has been removed months ago. These were intended as complimentary bags for owners to take should they be going for a walk after their visit only to find they were without any. Sadly an owner decided to leave a dirty poo bag for us to find in there and therefore we withdrew this immediately as this was unacceptable and not the intended use. Secondly, we check our doggie toys on a weekly basis and are constantly renewing balls and chews. We are so busy it's difficult to keep up with this sometimes and we apologise if you found a damaged toy upon your visit. We no longer have a toy box at all. Finally, the site of our playpen was approved by environmental health officers prior to our opening and did not affect our ability to earn a 5 star rating once we opened. The concept of the playpen was unique to Doggie Diner and subsequently all canine cafes in the north east have installed them as our customers and doggies love socialising in there. We therefore intend keeping this area going forward. Our playpen is hoovered and steamed on a daily basis and following your comments we intend to purchase a commercial carpet cleaner to ensure no smells ever exist. Once again thank you for your feedback on our business which we love and are so passionate about ❤️"

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