[UPDATE JAN 2019: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS VENUE HAS SADLY CLOSED DOWN] 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!
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.
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.
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