Portland for Pooches

Portland for Pooches

Portland is happening now. That’s the tagline at the Travel Portland website. Portland is also happening for pooches, and that’s our tagline for this story. Why? Because, after our recent visit to the City of Roses, Portland could not be a more happening place for pooches and people alike.
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photos by Emily Rieman (above photo courtesy of Travel Portland)
One of Portland’s most happening places for pooches (and people) is Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. Celebrating 20 years in business and three dog-friendly brew pubs, the Lucky Lab is top dog on the Portland pooch scene. After our drive from Seattle, we pop-in to their flagship location on Hawthorne for a bite to eat and a pint to drink. To say the Lucky Lab is laid back would be an understatement, which makes it perfect for dog lovers. There’s nothing fancy or fussy here—just a laid-back, casual environment, with simple sandwiches and tasty brews plus a heated, outdoor patio area to enjoy your refreshments with Rover.

In addition to serving up yummy food and drink, the Lucky Labrador hosts Dogtoberfest, an annual dog washing event to raise money for Portland’s Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital. Over the years, Dogtoberfest has raised about $130,000 for Dove Lewis, with over 8,000 dogs washed—if you and your dirty dog are in the neighborhood, this year’s Dogtoberfest is set for September 20, 2015.

Another option for beer and dog lovers alike is Base Camp Brewing Company. Open seven days a week, Base Camp’s taproom and dog-friendly patio is the perfect spot to enjoy a good beer and a bite to eat from one of their food cart partners, KOi Fusion, serving up a funky fusion of Korean BBQ and fresh Mexican flavors or Gonzo Falafel and Hummus, featuring delicious vegetarian and vegan fare.

Speaking of food carts, Portland is a Mecca of mobile eateries, serving hungry patrons everything from Russian pierogies to Japanese ramen to good ol’ southern barbecue. But, don’t just take our word for it. To commence drooling, just visit foodcartsportland.com, an ode to Portland’s food cart culture, and a practical guide for where to find them and what to eat once you get there, including Tidbit Food Farm & Garden. A relatively new location (it opened in September 2014), Tidbit is one of the more welcoming and dog-friendly food cart lots in the city, with vendors setup to surround a cozy seating area complete with a fireplace. We relax by the fire and refuel with a latte from the aptly-named Dogbone Farm Coffee Company.

While the choices for food cart eats are seemingly endless, our trip to Portland would not be complete without a visit to the Tin Shed Garden Café. Located in the Alberta Arts District, and enthusiastically dog-friendly, this funky little shack is notable for its rib-sticking fare. Menu items for people include “Fetch,” a bacon and egg scramble covered with sharp cheddar, tomato and green onion, “Good Dog,” which features pork sausage, jalapeño, bell pepper, onion and egg scramble, smothered with Tillamook cheddar, salsa fresca and chipotle aioli, and “Roll Over,” a sausage and egg scramble smothered with apple wood smoked bacon gravy. Each is served over potato cakes or cheese grits. And, that’s just for breakfast!

The dinner menu is just as ridiculous (in a good way), for dogs and humans, with items like “Mac-o-the-Day: and “Fungus Amongus,” with sauteed portabella mushrooms and carmelized onions, topped with avocado, chipotle aioli and pepper jack cheese on toasted sourdough bread. Dogs enjoy their own menu, with a choice of chicken, ground beef or pork mixed with rice and sweet potatoes. And, dinner would not be complete without dessert—we can’t resist a slice of chocolate cake with raspberry jam and peanut butter, while Thya enjoys a dish of peanut butter-banana ice cream.

The cozy garden seating has an outdoor fireplace and is the perfect spot to hang with your pup and every Tuesday night is Doggie Love Night. For every regularly priced people item, you receive one doggie menu item for free. And, speaking of doggie love, the Tin Shed has teamed up with the Pixie Project, a Portland non-profit animal adoption center. When you purchase a Tin Shed doggie bandana for $8, all of the proceeds go to the Pixie Project (pixieproject.com). Then, anytime your dog comes to the Tin Shed wearing its bandana, he gets 50% off his doggie dinner.

The next day, we decide to explore some more and deep in Portland’s posh and polished Pearl District—a testament to the city’s smart urban planning—Lovejoy Bakers rises to the level of a hidden neighborhood gem. Known for its bread and delightful desserts, Lovejoy also offers a full breakfast and lunch menu, and most recently dinner. I order a ham and gruyere croissant and much to my delight, discover my latte’s “art” features a little dog!

Next, it’s time to work off some of the calories acquired over the last couple of days, so we opt for a hike at Tryon Creek State Park. Located about 15 minutes from downtown Portland, Tryon is Oregon’s only state park within a major metropolitan area. With 670 acres of forest and a 2.7 mile loop trail, it’s perfect for an afternoon hike with your pooch—but, because it’s a state park, dogs must remain on leash.

For off-leash fun, Portland is the place, with 33 off-leash areas—from fenced dog parks that are leash-free during park hours to unfenced areas that are open to off-leash dogs during designated hours. We opt for Chimney Park, a full-time, 16-acre dog park, located just four miles from downtown. For a list of off-leash areas (fenced and unfenced), visit portlandoregon.gov/parks. Click on “Recreation” then “Dogs & Off-Leash Program,” where you will find a full list of designated off-leash areas, maps and park hours.

After Thya’s off-leash romp, it’s time for a treat, so we swing by Green Dog Pet Supply, located in northeast Portland, where they carry hundreds of locally-made products including one of our favorites, Cycle Dog (collars and leashes made in Portland with recycled bicycle inner tubes). Some more favorites are Doodlebug Duds’ handcrafted raincoats and Molly Muriel’s all natural pet shampoo bars. In addition to local, Green Dog also carries products doing some good such as Dogma Pet Beds made by St. Vincent de Paul as a job training program, using materials diverted from the landfill like donated upholstery scraps. Proceeds from sales go to support St. Vincent de Paul’s charitable works. And, Battle Ground Barkery’s “Doggie Biscotti” are made by students with disabilities at Battle Ground High School as part of their vocational training. Alas, Thya leaves with her favorite—Snook’s Sweet Potato Chews, made right here in Portland.

As we depart Portland, crossing over the Columbia River into Washington, the car in front of us has a bumper sticker that reads, “Keep Portland Weird.” Yes to that, but also yes to “Keep Portland Pooch Friendly!”

With all that we discovered, there is no doubt Portland has earned its ranking as one of the pooch friendliest cities in the country. To learn more about where to sit, stay and play in Portland, visit travelportland.com

More Information

Lucky Lab Brew Pub on Hawthorne
915 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland
503.236.3555; luckylab.com
BaseCamp Brewing
930 Southeast Oak St., Portland
503.764.9152; basecampbrewingco.com
Tidbit Food Farm & Garden
S.E. 28th Place and Division St., Portland
Tin Shed Garden Café
1438 Northeast Alberta St., Portland
503.288.6966; tinshedgardencafe.com
Lovejoy Bakers
939 Northwest 10th Ave., Portland
503.208.3113; lovejoybakers.com
Green Dog Pet Supply
4327 NE Fremont St., Portland
503.528.1800; greendogpetsupply.com
Chimney Park
9360 N Columbia Blvd, Portland
Tryon Creek State Park
11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd, Portland
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