Michael O’Rourke first started cooking for Ripley as soon as his girlfriend brought the dog home. “Ripley was an extremely picky eater, which made me start to cook her food,” said O’Rourke.
Miami is ranked among the most pet friendly cities in the U.S. Armed with that knowledge and his desire to start his own business, O’Rourke moved to Miami from Los Angeles, and has just opened a retail store called Dishes For Dogs on North Miami Avenue. Not only can customers come in to order their dog’s food, which is prepared in full view, the canine kitchen has also formed partnerships with dog-friendly Shooters Waterfront, Glass & Vine and Mister Block Cafe to provide dog meals for patrons dining with their dogs. They are also negotiating a deal with Kimpton Hotels in Miami.
The company’s website describes the dog food as being prepared fresh using whole food to create the nutritionally balanced meals. O’Rourke partnered with Dr. Justin Shmalberg, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist who specializes in home prepared diets for pets, to help develop the recipes for Dogs For Dishes.
While a storefront that sells only homemade dog cuisine is pretty unique, including dog dishes on restaurant and hotel menus is actually not a new concept. TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach provides a doggie room service menu from the PAW Court Bistro as part of their Pet Friendly Package. Sweet Sage Cafe on North Redington Beach offers up items like the French Poodle, Three Dog Night and Wake Up Little Shih Tzu on their Canine Cuisine menu. In Dunedin (aka DogEdin), it’s no surprise to dog lovers that many restaurants include a dog dining menu, including The Honu Cafe and The Living Room on Main.