For three years, Gabriela Kovacic battled with city hall to allow dogs on restaurant patios. Eventually, she won, and Café Lago became Dallas’ first legal dog-friendly establishment. The result? A much better atmosphere. “When a human came in with their dog, immediately people started interacting,” Kovacic says. “It brings everyone down to a friendlier level. They’re willing to converse with others.” She took the idea even further, developing the “puppy menu,” which includes safe canine cuisine like scrambled eggs, sliced turkey meat, grilled chicken and Nanny’s Homemade Meatloaf — a blend of meats, fat, veggies and oats. But no onions — those are on the “doggie die list,” a collection of foods that make mutts sick. Fifteen percent of puppy menu sales benefits the East Lake Pet Orphanage. Besides the pet-friendly environment, Café Lago has gained popularity for its authentic sangria and tasty tapas, such as the corn pudding topped with an aromatic poblano cream sauce. The menu also includes lots of veggie dishes. Try the purple risotto, which is packed with celery, broccoli and spinach. The herbs are picked from the Promise of Peace organic garden. “To me, healthfulness is really important,” Kovacic says. “If you’re going to eat something, you don’t want to feel miserable afterward.”

Café Lago
9219 Garland

More dog-friendly patios

Jason’s Deli
The deli-style lunch and dinner staple’s staffers are friendly to leashed and well-behaved dogs, allowed only in the outside dining area.
7412 Greenville Ave

The burritos here are bursting at the seams with fresh pico, rice, beans and proteins, and your canine can tag along, provided she stays on a leash and on the outdoor patio, and we don’t recommend sharing the beans.
11613 North Central