Big Dog Cafe Where California Leads the Way


California goes to the dogs! Though the name of this outdoor cafe is not actually called the Big Dog, it might as well be since Park Bench Cafe doesn’t do the place justice. Located in Huntington Beach, Calif., the restaurant in Central Park loves dogs so much, you can even throw a dog party and invite all of pooch’s playmates for a bash with a custom doggy cake filled with surprises! Europeans have loved their dogs and taken them dining, shopping and traveling for decades. The U.S. actually was a late-bloomer in dog trends, but we’ve come a long way, and California has embraced the society dog concept more than any other place.

Dog couture, dog parks & beaches, dog salons, dog massages, dog healing hands treatments, pet psychics, pet counselors, pet blessings by priests, fancy foods, gourmet bones & biscuits, and special dog travel blankets, baskets, carriers and pet liners have all sprung up in California where there’s a market and people willing to spend money on their dog “children”. Pretty soon you may even see pet seats and seatbelt requirements for pets in cars. Dogs traveling loose in the back of pick up trucks have been outlawed in most places now.

California ranks #1 of any U.S. state in volume of outdoor cafes where dogs can sip, slurp and snack, and many of those places have found that adding a few dog food items on the menu doesn’t hurt. Local health regulations have relaxed a bit to allow dogs to sit next to or near owners being served food in outdoor venues.

And if you love BIG DOGS, a clothing line called Big Dogs has outlets in California selling oversized shirts, pants, pjs and other casual wear. The brand was so popular at its peak that Santa Barbara even hosted a Big Dogs Parade, though we’ve not seen that event for several years.

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