Feast­ing with Fido

Dis­cover five lo­cal restau­rants that al­low four- legged din­ers

RSWLiving - - Department­s - BY KATHRYN COLE

Most peo­ple con­sider their pets to be part of their fam­ily ( al­beit a very furry fam­ily mem­ber) and love to spend time with them. While liv­ing in South­west Florida, I’ve seen dogs shop­ping, driv­ing, and even fish­ing with their own­ers. Now you’re even able to eat with your pets. In­ter­ested? Here are some lo­ca­tions that al­low your four- legged friend to join you for a meal.

Lo­cated in an “Old Florida” home that’s been ren­o­vated into a restau­rant, Cristof’s on McGre­gor fea­tures lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and fla­vors com­bined into dishes that are de­ceiv­ing in their sim­plic­ity. Cristof’s al­lows pets on its front brick pa­tio, which thank­fully has plenty of large um­brel­las for shade and wa­ter bowls for dogs as well.

My mother, brother, golden retriever Loomis, and I headed to Cristof’s re­cently for some af­ter­noon ap­pe­tiz­ers. Chef Trevor Si­mon said that the restau­rant sees dogs with their own­ers at least once a day, and it’s happy to pro­vide wa­ter for canine cus­tomers. But if own­ers want their pets to chow down as well, they’ll need to bring their own doggie food or treats. Or you could go my fam­ily’s route and ap­pease ( read: “give into”) those puppy eyes un­der the ta­ble with some bread.

If you’re look­ing for a more ca­sual yet still ur­ban at­mos­phere, a ten- minute drive to down­town Fort My­ers will bring you to Ford’s Garage. Lo­cated on First Street, the restau­rant has the vibe of a 1920s ser­vice sta­tion, with “grease rags” for nap­kins and an an­tique Ford sus­pended above the bar.

Speak­ing of bars, Ford’s boasts an amaz­ing col­lec­tion of craft beers ( more than 180 bot­tled and twenty drafts), along with a full range of cock­tails both tra­di­tional and unique. You can en­joy your

Lo­cated in a his­toric house turned restau­rant, Cristof’s on McGre­gor ( top pho­tos) uses lo­cal in­gre­di­ents in dishes like fried green toma­toes with chipo­tle corn salsa and al­lows dogs to ac­com­pany din­ers on its pa­tio. Ford’s Garage in down­town Fort...

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