Dog-Friendly Dining In Delaware


With more restaurants welcoming man’s best friend than ever before, it’s important for pet owners to be mindful of the rules—and other diners


For people like myself, dogs are called “fur-babies.” Our fur-babies are positively perfect in our eyes, even when they chew on a favorite pair of gold sling sandals. And our numbers are increasing.

According to The American Veterinary Medical Association’s most recent statistics (2017-2018), approximately 38 percent of households nationwide owned one or more dogs—the highest estimated rate of dog ownership since the AVMA began measuring it in 1982. What’s more, millennials, that target demographic of many marketers, shows up as the largest group of pet owners. With such a high rate of dog ownership, it’s no wonder that consumers are integrating their pets into their dining experiences and that more restaurants are accommodating them.

The trend of dog owners incorporating our furry family members into our everyday lives carries over into our budgets. And that is especially true, apparently, in Delaware. According to a survey published by the Pet Food Industry in 2018, out of all 50 states, Delaware dog owners spend the most on their pets – an average of $311.90 per month.

With this ready-made market, it’s little wonder that First State restaurants are joining the ranks of establishments that welcome dogs. And new eateries are being added almost weekly.

While enjoying the hospitality of these establishments, there are some guidelines to keep in mind when you go dining with man’s best friend. Here are a few tips about canine etiquette, along with advice from Delaware pet owners.

Dog-Friendly Restaurant Etiquette


• Check with the restaurant to make sure it is in fact dog-friendly. Helpful websites like contain information and reviews, but restaurant rules and policies are ever-changing and it’s best to check.


• Bring a misbehaving fur-baby to a restaurant. While some behavior may be accepted at home, like barking and jumping on the random human, not all restaurant patrons love dogs as much as we do. If your pup doesn’t sit quietly or get along with other dogs or humans, it might be better to have a picnic in a dog-friendly park with the family.


• Keep your dog’s preferred temperature in mind. If you are sitting on the patio of a restaurant and have a furry dog, the summer sun may be too hot for Fido. Find a shady spot and give your pet plenty of water.


• Forget to bring extra treats. Not all restaurants have canine-friendly menus. How would you feel if you sat in front of someone who was eating a tasty burger while your belly rumbles? Make sure you have a couple of treats or a bully stick for your companion to ensure that you both have something enjoyable to chew on.


• Keep in mind that dog-friendly restaurants draw huge crowds, including many youngsters. If your pup is the anxious sort, you may want to elect to go to breakfast or lunch before trying the more kid-centric dinner meal. Some restaurants have a lot of flashing lights, loud music, or unique outdoor decor that can upset your pet. Keep an eye on their behavior and ensure they aren’t becoming distressed.


• . . . let your dog bark incessantly, even if it’s a cute little yapper. While some guests may be tolerant, noisy behavior is unfair and disruptive to non-dog owners in the restaurant.


• Check the local events pages on social media and local press for doggy-themed events. Often, establishments that aren’t regularly classified as pet-friendly will host events to include dogs and their owners. Some of these can be on a trial basis to see how the experience with pet patrons goes, and whether they will become a long-term pet-friendly business.


• . . . let your dog off the leash. Even if they are the most well-behaved pets on the planet, absolutely keep them on the leash. You never know when someone will drop a dish or glass, scrape a chair on the floor, or create some other sudden noise that startles your furry date.


• Pick up after your dog! The waitstaff is there to clean up after you, but not Fido. Make sure you properly dispose of the mess and that it doesn’t interfere with the experience of other diners.

Dog-Friendly Restaurant Experiences

Bob Hairgrove and his therapy dogs, Holly and Rookie, visit hospitals and schools with Paws for People from Newark. They frequently stop at restaurants across the state after their visits for a quick snack and a drink of water before heading home. “Just about every restaurant will serve them a bowl of water,” Hairgrove says. “Some do offer dog treats, but our dogs usually don’t take them from strangers – but the offer is appreciated. We try to find or ask for tables in the shade for them so they don’t overheat. If you take a dog to a restaurant, just be mindful that they don’t wander and bother others who are eating.”

Hairgrove and his two pets have found friendly restaurants throughout the state. “If we are in Newark we will go to Deer Park. The staff loves the dogs and will bring them a big bowl of water. We really don’t have a favorite pet-friendly restaurant, but we do have a list of repeats we go to–Grotto Pizza in Middletown, Crabby Dick’s in Delaware City, Grain H2O at Summit North Marina.” They have also been to Metro Pub & Grill in Middletown, Iron Hill Brewery at the Wilmington Riverfront, Brickworks Brewing & Eats in Smyrna and Governor’s Cafe in Dover. In Rehoboth, they go to Grotto Pizza on Rehoboth Avenue and Zogg’s Raw Bar and Grill on Wilmington Avenue.

Well-behaved dogs like Betty, are welcome at Deer Park Tavern’s patio. Photo by Jim Coarse

“We allow service dogs at Texas Maverick BBQ in Smyrna inside and we also welcome leashed, well-behaved dogs on our patio through an outside entrance,” says Dave Dettra, owner and chef at the restaurant. “A dog can expect a clean bowl of water and most likely a brisket treat. Our servers have been trained to discourage the sharing of pork and chicken bones or anything that contains onions with dogs.” Dettra’s dog, Sarge, is a rescued dachshund who greatly approves of his owner’s BBQ skills.

Cecilia Bozzo, breeder, owner and handler of Viva Chihuahuas and AKC Breeder of Merit, often brings her multi-championship dogs with her when she goes to restaurants. “When the patio is open for summer, we love to dine at BBC Tavern & Grill in Greenville,” says Bozzo. “They are super dog-friendly and are always very welcoming to our Chihuahuas. They always offer bowls of water that are so big the Chihuahuas could bathe in them. We place Tiffany’s travel bag right on the table and other diners come over to say hello. We’ve had Chihuahuas in their travel bags and on our laps while dining at BBC. They are wonderful and we look forward to good weather every year just so we can go back to the BBC.”

Kirstyn Gawel, a pet owner from Middletown, has taken her two dogs to Dogfish Brewing & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, which offers a covered pet-friendly patio for owners and dogs to share. They also provide water bowls and dog treats. “We took our Shih Tzus, Lucy and Leah to Dogfish and were surprised to see that they had menu items for our dogs,” says Gawel. “It was such a great experience that we left with branded collars from their shop.”

Tips from Pet Owners

Bozzo’s advice for entering the restaurant: “Many restaurants allow pets but must have an outside entrance to the patio. Make sure you don’t walk through the inside of the restaurant to get to the pet-friendly designated area.”

Hairgrove recommends being aware of your surroundings. “It seems that most people are not bothered by a dog on a restaurant patio but sometimes we have moved voluntarily if we feel someone may be a bit unnerved by a dog sitting near them while eating.”

He also offers this culinary advice: “Don’t forget about Dairy Queen drive-thru—free pup cups for each dog in your car.”

Dettra suggests giving other diners their space. “My advice to dog owners would be to pick or ask for a table out of the way so your dog will be comfortable and any guests who aren’t dog fans will have their space to enjoy dining as well.”

And finally, Cindy Cavett’s caffeinated point to ponder: “Are you a Starbucks fan? Check out their puppuccino! A free drink for your pup, which is essentially a cup of whipped cream, but your fur-baby will think it’s ooh-la-la special!”

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Delaware

While this is not a comprehensive list, it’s pretty darn close. If you have a favorite restaurant that isn’t on the list, go to or find O&A on Facebook and let us know. We hope you and your fur-baby have a happy tail to tell about your dog-friendly dining experience in Delaware.

New Castle County

BBC Tavern & Grill
4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville | 655-3785
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Brew HaHa!
5329 Limestone Rd., Wilmington | 234-9600
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
465 W. Main St., Middletown | 376-6177
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Caffe Gelato
90 E Main St., Newark | 738-5811
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Crabby Dick’s
30 Clinton St., Delaware City | 832-5100
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen
270 E. Main St., Newark | 444-8646
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Grain H20
3006 Summit Harbour Ln., Bear | 440-4404
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Iron Hill Brewery
620 Justison St., Wilmington | 472-2739
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Metro Pub & Grill
17 Wood St., Middletown | 376-3876
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Piccolina Toscana
1412 N Dupont St., Wilmington | 302-654-8001
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Purebread Deli
500 Delaware Ave., Wilmington | 421-9866
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

River Rock Kitchen
818 Shipyard Dr., Wilmington | 397-5518
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Ted’s Montana Grill
3194 Fashion Center Blvd., Newark | 366-1601
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

The Green Turtle Sports Bar & Grille
416 South Ridge Ave., Middletown | 376-7800
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Timothy’s Riverfront
930 Justison St., Wilmington | 429-7427
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Tonic Bar & Grille
111 West 11th St., Wilmington | 777-2040
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Trolley Tap House
1616 Delaware Ave., Wilmington | 652-2255
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Wilmington Blue Rocks
Frawley Stadium, 801 Shipyard Dr., Wilmington | 888-2583
Stadium – Tuesdays Only during designated events – check website for details

Kent County

Blue Earl Brewing Company
210 Artisan Dr., Smyrna | 653-2337
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Brick Works Brewing & Eats
230 S Dupont Blvd., Smyrna | 508-2523
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

JP’s Wharf
201 Hubbard Ave., Frederica | 335-4035
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio overlooking Delaware Bay

Maverick Texas BBQ
19 W. Commerce St., Smyrna | 215-806-2184
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio (entrance to the patio is outside)

Meding’s Seafood
3697 Bay Rd., Milford | 335-3944
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

The Governor’s Cafe
144 Kings Hwy., Dover | 747-7531
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

The House of Coffi
14 E. Loockerman St., Dover | 672-0059
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio (entrance to the patio is outside)

Sussex County

44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 227-7107
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Arena’s at the Airport
21553 Rudder Ln., Georgetown | 856-3297
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Baja Beach House Grill
109 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach | 537-9993
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Cilantro Cocina de México
120 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 226-1000
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way, Lewes | 644-7837
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
320 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 226-BREW
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Green Man Juice Bar & Bistro
12 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 227-4909
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Grotto Pizza
36 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 227-3278
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio in most county locations – call specific store for details

Irish Eyes
213 Anglers Rd., Lewes | 645-6888
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Kaisy’s Delights
1548 Savannah Rd., Lewes | 313-4241
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Lazy L Bed and Breakfast
16061 Willow Creek Rd., Lewes | 644-7220
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Lori’s Cafe
39 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 226-3066
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Purple Parrot Restaurant & Bar
134 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 226-1139
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Covered Patio

Rigby’s Rehoboth
404 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 227-6080
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Rusty Rudder
113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach | 227-3888
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Striper Bites
107 Savannah Rd., Lewes | 645-4657
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Surf Bagel & Deli
17382 Coastal Hwy., Lewes | 644-1822
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Woody’s East Coast Bar & Grill
1904 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach | 260-9945
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

Zogg’s Raw Bar & Grill
1 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 227-7660
Dog-friendly location: Outdoor Patio

So, what do you think? Please comment below.