Double Dogs Chow House says it has worked out a plan with the Lexington health department that will let the new restaurant welcome pets to the dog-friendly half of their patio, which is expected to be open this weekend.
“We’ve gotten together with the health department and we’ve figured out a solution,” said John Morrison, vice president and director of operations for the Bowling Green-based Double Dogs chain.
“We’ll have a self-service area. ... People will just have to take care of themselves, but they will be able to bring their pets in and enjoy.”
But Kevin Hall, spokesman for the Lexington-Fayette Health Department said no plan has been approved.
“This was news to us,” he said. “We have not (signed off on a reworked patio.) They had indicated they were looking into several potential options, but none were officially agreed upon or approved by the health department.”
Late Thursday, Hall said that the health department and Double Dogs representatives would meet Friday morning to go over the proposed changes to see whether the restaurant would then be in compliance with FDA regulations.
On Thursday, workers were preparing to pour concrete outside the Hamburg restaurant so it can open half of the seating outdoors for self-serve customers. Customers will be able to order inside and take their food back to their tables.
“We should have it open by the weekend,” Morrison said. The area will have about five tables.
The other half will have table service and won’t allow dogs in.
“I’m happy when we can work everything out,” he said. “It’s all good. ... We just want to be able to have our pets with us in certain areas, and we’re just being accommodating. I think the health department and Double Dogs have come to a real nice solution.”
The restaurant, which opened Monday, billed itself as dog-friendly and features several dishes on the menu named for Bo and Chancey, the “double dogs” for whom the chain is named.
But the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department warned Double Dogs that animals (except for service animals) are not allowed on restaurant premises.
So Double Dogs was forced to tell customers to leave their dogs at home.
Lexington’s dog-loving public mounted a campaign to open the patio, arguing that many restaurants and bars in the city seem to allow dogs. By Thursday afternoon, there were 4,819 signatures.
Double Dogs said its other restaurants, including in Louisville, don’t have a problem having dogs.
So if Double Dogs lets the dogs in, is the restaurant risking a citation?
“As with any restaurant, if somebody makes a complaint, we will investigate,” said Hall, the health department spokesman.