July 2018

Come, Sit, Stay Awhile: Canine-friendly restaurants

Author: Kitty Bartell

Raise your hand if you have made a visit to the drive-through at the bank or passed through Mickey D’s with your faithful canine companion perched on the arm rest, balancing somewhere between calm and crazed, in anticipation of a bank biscuit or a salty French fry. And, by the time the transaction has been completed, you have been trampled in the excitement, or are managing a drool situation with a fist-full of napkins. As much as our dogs love us, and we know they do, a strong case can be made that dogs love food even more, and smart restaurateurs across the Lowcountry are doing what it takes to make them welcome.

Nearly without exception, if a local restaurant has a deck, patio, or well-manicured (or even less-than-well-manicured) lawn, dogs will be welcomed with at the least a bowl of water to quench their thirst, and at the most, with a menu catering to their tastes and digestive systems. Biscuits … aka cookies … are often found in the pockets of waitstaff and hosts, and if they’re lucky, like the pups who visit the patio at Holy Tequila on Hilton Head Island, they are treated to goodies from Tail Wiggles, the pet supply store in Village at Wexford that stocks a splendid assortment of homemade cookies and treats.

It is unlikely that any of the local four-legged, furry set has visited more restaurant decks and patios on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton than CH2/CB2 magazine’s own Lucille Rosita Gonzalez Washo, a Bernese Mountain Dog. The ever-faithful guardian of all things CH2/CB2, she has an enviable social life, making restaurant visits on a nearly daily basis with her person, Maggie Washo, editor-in-chief of the magazine, and devoted caretaker, roommate, and companion to the locally famous Lucy.


Holy Tequila is dog-friendly on their patio, where CH2 Lucy is a frequent patron. Her favorites include the fried chicken taco, the chicken nachos, and the Queso Fundido.

“A lot of our dining decisions are made based on whether Lucy is welcome or not,” Washo said. “We very rarely go to places where we can’t take her. One of our favorites is Jane [Bistro and Bar] because they are sweet to her and are genuinely excited to see her. They hand out dog biscuits; that’s a nice treat for her. Skillets is one of Lucy’s favorites. They have a special dog menu, but I just order her a breakfast sandwich or one of the skillets. Coast at the Sea Pines Beach Club is another one of Lucy’s favorites. I usually get her the kid’s cheeseburger there. We do Smokehouse a lot. It’s great because they have a big deck; in the fall/winter because they have the fire going, there’s lots of space, and it’s so cozy. Lucy’s been to Fish Camp a few times, too. It’s a big deck overlooking Broad Creek and the marina is right there so there are boats coming and going. They’ve got a firepit area and they usually have entertainment. Another one of Lucy’s favorites is the French Bakery. I order her scrambled eggs with cheese and toast.”

Aimee Baima, owner of Skillets Café & Grill in Coligny Plaza, encourages pet owners to make her restaurant’s porch their go-to getaway, offering a menu of Lucky Dog Cuisine, locally made, cooked, all-natural, people-quality food for dogs. Whether stopping by for a meal or just to hang-out, it’s a welcoming hub on the island’s south end. “I always tell people that you don’t have to come here just to eat a meal,” Baima said. “If you just want to get the dog out, come and order an iced tea, come have dessert, or a beer. Come on up and get the dog out.”

Bistro 17, overlooking Shelter Cove Marina is another restaurant where dogs are invited to enjoy the relaxing vibe under the awning and umbrellas on their outdoor dining patio overlooking the water and boats, and where tasty, pet-friendly meals are served alongside their people. “Dogs are so welcome,” said owner, Jim Buckingham. “We love dogs. They have their own menu. They can have grilled chicken with their choice of any vegetable. People love to come here and order dinner for their dogs, and we love to accommodate them.”


Assisi and his human, Vince Scott, are frequent visitors to Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café.

To make it a pleasurable experience for everyone involved, dining alfresco with your pet requires a caveat or two. First … safety. Paying attention to what your dog is doing while you’re eating, drinking, and socializing, could be critical to their physical well-being. There may be surrounding plants and shrubbery that are poisonous to four-legged guests, including, lilies, azaleas, liriope, oleander, elephant ears, and asparagus ferns—all plants readily found in the Lowcountry.

Despite having highly touted animal instincts, dogs tend to not have a clue when it comes to what is safe and healthy to chew on while waiting for their cheeseburger or sweet potato chips to arrive.

Caveat number two is related to personal space and your pet’s social skills. Maintaining reasonable boundaries and having control of your dog is not only required by law, but is the path to making friends and being invited back. Not everyone likes dogs … yikes! Keeping your canine companion on a close leash and training him or her to lie quietly under your table or to sit close to you makes for happy pets and happy table neighbors.

Kirty Smith, Hilton Head Island resident and hostess at Rock Fish Seafood & Steaks at Bomboras, visited the restaurant’s outdoor dining porch with her Standard Poodle, Rhiley many times before joining their team. “He’s awesome and loves the Rock Fish porch,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to take Rhiley everywhere with me. He makes me feel a lot more comfortable; he’s really protective, and he’s nice to everyone.” Smith has also taken Rhiley to Frosty Frog in Coligny Plaza, where dogs are also welcome. In addition to the water and treats available at so many of the area’s restaurants, Smith said that making new friends happens all the time whenever Rhiley comes along.

Raise your hand if dining with your favorite canine in tow sounds good. The website, bringfido.com lists over 100 dog-friendly restaurants across the Lowcountry, from the porches at The Cottage and The Dispensary in Old Town Bluffton, to Black Marlin in Palmetto Bay and Old Oyster Factory on the island, restaurant owners and managers understand the connections and affection between dogs and their people. So much better than drive-through paw prints in your lap or drool on your shoulder. Come, sit, and stay a while.

Pet-Friendly Restaurants
Pets welcome on the patio or outdoor area. Please call to check before bringing Fido, pet policies sometimes change. Are you a pet-friendly restaurant we missed? Let us know you welcome four-legged friends and we will add you to the online listing of this article on our website.

In Bluffton:

Calhoun’s
843.757.4334 or calhounstreettavern.com

Captain Woody’s
843.757.6222 or captainwoodys.com

Chow Daddy’s
843.757.CHOW or chowdaddys.com

COAST at Sea Pines Beach Club
843.842.1888 or coastoceanfrontdining.com

FARM
843.707.2041 or farmbluffton.com

Hogshead Kitchen
843.837.HOGS or hogsheadkitchen.com

The Cottage
843.757.0508 or thecottagebluffton.com

The Dispensary
843.837.1893 or otdbluffton.com

The Pearl
843.757.5511 or thepearlbluffton.com

Truffles Café
843.815.5551 or trufflescafe.com
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On Hilton Head Island

Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Café
843.785.7700 or auntchiladashhi.com

Bistro 17
843.785.5517

Black Marlin Bayside Grill
843.785.4950 or blackmarlinhhi.com

British Open Pub
843.686.6736 or britishopenpubhhi.com

Carolina Crab Co.
843.842.2016 or carolinacrabco.com

Captain Woody’s
843.785.2400 or captainwoodys.com

CharBar
843.785.CHAR or charbar.co

CQ’s Restaurant
(seasonally serving outside- weather-permitting – call first!)
843.671.2779 or CQsrestaurant.com

Fish Camp at Broad Creek
843.842. 2267 or fishcamphhi.com

Frankie Bones
843.682.4455 or frankieboneshhi.com

Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta
843. 784.4144 or giuseppispizza.com

Harbour Town Bakery & Café
843.785.3333 or seapines.com

Hilton Head Ice Cream
843.842.6333 or hiltonheadicecreamshop.com

Holy Tequila
843.681.TACO or holytequila.com

Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks
843. 681.2772 or hudsonsonthedocks.com

Island Bagel
843.686.3353 or islandbagelanddeli.com

Jane Bistro and Bar
843.686.5696 or janehhi.com

Java Burrito
843.842.5282 or javaburrito.com

Local Pie
843.842.7437 or localpie.com

Mellow Mushroom
843.686.2474 or mellowmushroom.com

New York City Pizza
Festival Center at Indigo Park – 843.689.2229
Shelter Cove Towne Centre – 843.785.4200
newyorkcitypizza.com

Old Fort Pub
843.681.2386 or oldfortpub.com

Old Oyster Factory
843.681.6040 or oldoysterfactory.com

One Hot Mama’s
843.682.6262 or onehotmamas.com

Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café
843.686.3232 or palmettobaysunrisecafe.com

Poseidon
843. 341.3838 or poseidonhhi.com

Reilley’s Grill & Bar
843.842.4414 or reilleyshiltonhead.com

Rockfish Seafood and Steaks at Bomboras
843.689.2662 or bomborasgrille.com

Skillets Café & Grill
843.785.3131 or skilletscafe.com

Skull Creek Boathouse
843.681.3663 or skullcreekboathouse.com

Skull Creek Dockside
843.785.3625 or docksidehhi.com

Street Meet
843.842.2570 or streetmeethhi.com

The French Bakery
843.342.5420 or frenchbakeryhiltonhead.com

The Smokehouse
843.842.4227 or smokehousehhi.com

Up the Creek Bar & Grill
843.681.3625 or broadcreekmarinahh.com

WiseGuys
843.842.8866 or wiseguyshhi.com

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