If you’re a dog owner like me, you’ve been there—you come home from work and your dogs have been super sweet and not destroyed anything (for once), so you want to treat them to something extra special, but how, and where? Well, fear not, your prayers have finally been answered: in the form of Dog House in the inner-north Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. Here, you can spoil your pooch in more ways than you’d ever imagine.
Opened by Charles Fernandez and Anuj Yadav, Dog House is the result of 12 months of council negotiations, researching dog nutrition, developing recipes, and formulating a signature range of dog food. It was an idea which was initially sparked by one of their dogs getting ill from poor quality dog meat, and further motivated by a goal of having their dogs be able to enjoy all the things that we humans get to enjoy at cafes, all while their humans get to enjoy cafe things alongside them.
Upon entering Dog House, there’s a retail shop with all sorts of dog paraphernalia to the left (clothes, toys, accessories), and a huge cabinet of delicious looking food to the right that resembles a cross between a butcher shop and a bakery. Only upon closer inspection does it become clear, however, that the contents of the cabinet are solely for canine consumption.
Just past the large front space there sits a much smaller cafe space, providing treats for people—here they use Rosso Roasting Company, serving espresso-based coffees, with lattes and the like starting at around $3.80. There are also pre-packaged sandwiches and some sweet treats to sustain the humans who accompany the ecstatic dog clientele.
When you walk through the venue to the seating space, it thoroughly hits home that this is a cafe unlike any other. Private booths—constructed out of pallets and other brightly painted materials—make up the seating area. Essentially, these are dedicated pens for dog customers to be able to enjoy their puppycinos with uninterrupted abandon. There is, of course, a not-so-cheap price tag associated with the amount of thought and care that’s gone into the products at Dog House—most items cost around $7 and upwards—that said though, many people are choosing to have dogs over having kids these days, so there’s no harm in splurging a little (at least you don’t have to send your dog to university… yet).
Once you’re all set up in your booth, you can get doggy cupcakes, ice cream, fresh meat from reputable butchers, and even puppycinos—made of lactose-free milk, whipped with egg, and topped with carob dust (it’s a pretty decadent time). Beyond the consumables, Dog House offers some interesting stuff—especially dog weddings (and, of course, divorces). When I went in shortly after they first opened, they’d already had a number of enquiries (I myself started picturing my own dogs, Stevie and Wednesday, in adorable doggy veils).
Of course, Dog House is just one of many additions to the Melbourne coffee landscape—sure, there are plenty of places you can go to get a world-class filter coffee, or try the newest in cold nitro brewing… but how many places can you go where you can buy your dog a birthday cake and have them wear silly hats, and it’s totally expected and normal?
Eileen P. Kenny is a Sprudge.com staff writer based in Melbourne. Read more Eileen P. Kenny on Sprudge.