Eating Adventures

What's With All the Dogs Inside Edgewater Public Market?

Michael Emery Hecker
Where do you have to go to get some service, dog?

Edgewater Public Market has gone to the dogs.

If you've visited the spacious new indoor shopping center and food hall just west of Sloan's Lake, you may have noticed a few well-behaved pooches hanging out with their people in and around the main dining room, where more than a dozen food and beverage vendors sell everything from lobster rolls to Ethiopian lamb stew. "How can that be?" you might ask, wondering why pets are allowed here but not in other restaurants — and also wondering why you left your beloved fur baby at home.

click to enlarge You've been spotted, Spot. - MICHAEL EMERY HECKER
You've been spotted, Spot.
Michael Emery Hecker
The inclusive canine code extends to more than just service dogs (which are legally allowed almost everywhere) and emotional support poodles. A representative for the market states, "We are a dog-friendly facility and will continue to analyze our rules as we move forward." So, yes, there are restrictions to where your companion can go and what he or she can do. Here's the official policy from Edgewater Public Market:

We take pride in offering our customers a dog-friendly environment. In the interest of allowing furry friends, please note our strict dog rules below. If any of these rules are broken, we will have to ask you to leave.

Dogs, regardless of size, are NOT allowed:
 - On tables, chairs, or benches
 - To put their paws on food service counters
 - In food preparation areas / kitchens

NO aggressive dogs
 - Biting and fighting will result in immediate expulsion
 - Barking and disruptive animals will be asked to leave after 1 warning

Your dog must be leashed and you must be with your dog AT ALL TIMES.

No dogs allowed on the rooftop patio.

If your dog poops, pees, or vomits, we ask you to take your pet home.

If you have any concerns about a rule being violated, please inform our janitorial staff or contact the manager at 720-749-2220.

So why aren't more restaurants, or at least more food halls, allowing pets? The biggest part of the answer is how the food hall is regulated by the Jefferson County Public Health Department (Edgewater is an actual city within Jefferson County, not a Denver neighborhood). Mindi Ramig, environmental health supervisor and retail food program manager for the department, explains that the public areas of Edgewater Public Market and the food-service businesses are separately regulated. "All of the establishments around that area are licensed," she notes, so as long as animals aren't on or behind the counter, they don't pose a risk to the food being prepped. So a restaurant where servers and other employees go back and forth between the kitchen and dining room would not qualify under the regulations. In this situation, the market, rather than the food vendors, manages enforcement and cleanup.

Other food halls may simply not want to take on the the added responsibility of managing pet policies, so they stick with a simple "No pets allowed" rule. And other counties may have their own regulations for multi-vendor food-service establishments. So don't think just because you and your dog are welcome at Edgewater Public Market, you can march into other similar setups with your pup in tow.

click to enlarge All paws on the floor is a good rule to live by. - MICHAEL EMERY HECKER
All paws on the floor is a good rule to live by.
Michael Emery Hecker
Ramig adds that the market's pet policy seems to be unique for now. And while her department doesn't keep statistics on what types of businesses are requesting special consideration outside the norm, she says she's personally noticed an uptick in other unusual situations that require flexibility to ensure public health while allowing new businesses to operate.

So grab that leash and harness and make a date with your dog for lunch or dinner; just keep the comfort and safety of others in mind and follow the rules for a successful outing. Edgewater Public Market is located at 5505 West 20th Avenue and is open from 8 a.m. to midnight daily, closing at 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Call 720-749-2220 for more details.