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Looking for the perfect place to dine out with your dog? We found it for you in Bluffton |

Looking for the perfect place to dine out with your dog? We found it for you in Bluffton

Many Lowcountry restaurants open up their outdoor seating areas to customers with pets, and dozens of such places can be found on the website BringFido.com

None of these goes as far to make your furry friend feel as welcome as The Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room. This Bluffton eatery takes things to another level by offering its own meals created especially for your dog.


Located in a former home on Calhoun Street, The Cottage has a menu with four options, and offers dogs a place to dine at the restaurant’s outside porch and garden. The meals range in price from $4 to $7.95 and each is named after one of the four dogs belonging to restaurant owner, Leslie Rohland.

“It’s all healthy, all fresh,” said manager Suzanne Mitkos, “we’re a scratch-make kitchen here.” She added that the meals are all made from sustainable ingredients and are suitable for human consumption.

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In compliance with health regulations, the dog meals are served up in disposable bowls, which “come in a fabulous blue floral pattern that we buy at Sam’s Club,” Rohland said. The regulations also require that dogs say off the tables or furniture.

Roland said that serving dogs dinner has been successful for the restaurant, especially since a lot of people bring their dogs to Calhoun Street for weekend festivals and the weekly farmers market. “It’s really nice when all the dogs are laying around in the sun and people are stepping over these animals and the dogs are being friendly with each other.”

And, following the success of the dog menu, Roland says she is now contemplating adding doggy desserts.

Though The Cottage takes the cake when it comes to catering to canine customers, we’ve found two other area restaurants, Skillet’s Grill Cafe on Hilton Head and Panini’s on the Waterfront in Beaufort, also have doggie menus.

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These dinners, however, come from pre-made pet meals cooked up by Hardeeville-based Lucky Dog Cuisine. The company, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday, sells seven pre-cooked and frozen recipes at LuckyDogCuisine.com. All of its meals are made from all-natural, human grade ingredients in its 7,500-square-foot facility, says company founder Janice Elenbaas, and four of those recipes come in versions sized for restaurant sale.

The food is so good, that people have been known to eat it, including Elenbaas’ husband, Jeff Ginn. “I’ve had clients do that, it’s very funny,” she said.

At Skillets, which owner Amie Baima describes as “extremely pet friendly,” dogs arriving at the restaurant’s patio receive a bowl of water and the doggie menu. “It’s very healthy food for the dogs, and it costs $6.” she said. The meals are heated to order.

“We’re not limited to dogs,” she added. “We even had a customer that brought a pig.”

Jay Karr: 843-706-8150

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