Tails were wagging as Double Dogs Chow House won approval from the Lexington health department to open part of its patio to dogs.
The approval came after a meeting Friday morning with health department officials to review changes being made to the restaurant, which opened Monday at 1916 Justice Drive in Hamburg.
“We did issue approval. They are going to open a community dog park next to the restaurant, with self-service, that’s open to anyone who wants to bring their dog there. They plan on opening it tonight,” said Kevin Hall, spokesman for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
John Morrison, Double Dogs’ vice president and director of operations, said the health department was very professional.
“We worked together,” Morrison said. “The solution is we’re going to have a common area, open to the public, a community park that anybody from anywhere can come to and hang out with their dog. It’s a community dog park.”
He said he hopes it will be open Friday evening. “We still have a little work to do.”
Customers in that area will have to order and pick up their food and drinks inside; the other side of the patio will have table service.
The change came after a week of uncertainty: The chain, which bills itself as dog-friendly, had planned to allow dogs on its patio, which it says is standard at its other restaurants in Bowling Green, Louisville and in Tennessee.
But Lexington health officials told them that would violate FDA food safety regulations prohibiting animals on the premises where they might contaminate food.
Double Dogs notified customers on Facebook, and dog lovers were not happy. They started a petition to ask the health department to change its policy; by Friday morning, it had 5,241 signatures.