Pooches on patios

Chico restaurants are down with new law allowing dogs in outdoor spaces

I’m a proud mom of one of the sweetest, yet most neurotic dogs I’ve ever encountered.

My now-husband Nick and I brought Conner, a black lab and border collie mix, into our home five years ago. He’s lovable and incredibly low maintenance. He doesn’t bark or chew, doesn’t like getting out of bed until 9 a.m., and enjoys spending his days curled up in a little ball on the couch.

But with his sweet temperament also comes a healthy dose of cowardice. Conner is afraid of anything new that comes into our house, even common items that are simply being replaced. This has included everything from kitchen mats to a floor lamp. On walks, garbage cans and strollers have frightened him.

Needless to say, when I heard that a new state law allowing pets on restaurant patios went into effect this month, I knew Conner wouldn’t be one of the canines joining a Chico patio during happy hour.

But owners of less fearful pups can now legally take their four-legged furry friends to establishments with outdoor seating, regardless of whether the dogs are service animals. Up until January, state law prohibited pets on restaurant patios; this law simply removes the prohibition. Business owners now decide whether nonhuman companions are welcome on their premises. Dogs must be on leashes or in carriers, cannot be in areas where food is prepared, and can’t interfere with serving staff.

Mom’s Restaurant now welcomes well-behaved dogs on its patio, as does B Street Public House.

Will Brady, one of the owners of B Street, which boasts a beautiful back patio behind its Broadway restaurant, says they plan to fully embrace the new legislation. With six dogs among the three restaurant owners, Brady, who has two himself—Steve and Dennis—said the restaurant is pro-pooch.

Brady said he’s bounced around the idea of developing a card that dog owners could bring to Chico restaurants that allow dogs on patios, as a way to vouch for the dog being friendly and well-behaved.

“In Chico especially, to get the dogs off the sidewalks and get a bowl of water for them in the summer heat seems like a good thing for business, the sidewalk and the dog’s health,” Brady said.

Across from B Street, Tres Hombres’ policy will be to continue to only allow service animals on the patio. The design of the long, narrow patio doesn’t readily lend itself to extra guests underfoot, especially given the popularity of the dining space and its frontage on busy Broadway.

As the weather begins to warm up, if you’re inclined to hit up some patios, be sure to call ahead and check in with the restaurant on their pooch policy. And just because you can bring your dog with you, doesn’t mean you should. Like Conner, some dogs would much rather be left home watching Animal Planet.