Pooch permits codify practice
Dogs have always been a staple on the outdoor patio at O’Shucks Bar & Grill, says Manager Bill Pierret. Customers have been bringing their four-legged friends to the Main Street establishment for years, he said.
"We are one of the few permitted patios on Main Street and we have always been pet friendly," Pierret said.
However, since January, Summit County restaurant owners have been required to apply for a permit variance to allow paws on their patios. Restaurants had to apply for a one-year permit and go through an additional inspection process for the dogs to be outside on patios. The permit costs $300.
Pierret said the restaurant immediately submitted an application and was granted a permit that is good through Jan. 1, 2016.
"It’s great being pet friendly. People go everywhere with their dogs these days and instead of leaving the dog in the car, you can enjoy lunch and a cocktail with it," he said. "It’s a great convenience, especially in this town that has such a dog-friendly environment."
O’Shucks Bar & Grill is one of nine restaurants listed on the Summit County Health Department’s website as an approved permit holder. The other restaurants are: Windy Ridge Cafe, Lespri Prime Steak Sushi Bar, Deer Valley Grocery Café, Park City Brewery Tap Room, Silver Star Cafe, The Cabin, Good Karma Restaurant and Red Tail Grill.
Several restaurants had previously allowed customers to bring their dogs as guests, but it violated federal and state health codes. Last year, when the county passed the new Code of Health, it codified the practice and placed new regulations on it.
Some of the regulations include space requirements, such as requiring restaurants to have enough space on their patios to keep dogs at least 10 feet away from an entry door, and canine hazard plans, similar to food plans that specify methods for waste cleanup on the patios. Owners are responsible for removal.
Phil Bondurant, Summit County environmental health director, said two restaurants were turned down because of the limited patio space. However, Bondurant said he anticipated more participation, estimating more than 20 restaurants would apply based on interest.
"We did expect there to be more and haven’t found the reason why there isn’t, whether it’s the price of the permit or not," Bondurant said. "But the number we got is fair. It creates a small niche within the community for those establishments."
No issues have been reported since permits were issued and complaints about dogs at restaurants have also drastically declined, Bondurant said.
Health Department officials decided to limit the permit to one year to allow for an "inauguration period," Bondurant said.
"We wanted to keep the permit under a year for the first couple of years. We wanted to make sure we didn’t get ourselves in too deep and we wanted to keep it simple so we could reevaluate it to see if it still garners attention and there is still a significant interest."
As patio season comes to a close, Pierret said his restaurant will "absolutely apply" for another permit next year. Pierret says the permit has imposed new regulations on issues such as waste removal, but he doesn’t mind.
"I think putting the requirements on it does help as far as making sure the customers know what’s going on," Pierret said. "It helps me to educate my staff and the guests on what we are doing. I think that is great that there is an approval process in place now."
To see the list of restaurants permitted to have dogs on their patios or to view the Code of Health go to http://www.summitcountyhealth.org/pooches-on-patios.
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