The dog days of summer are behind us -- but every dog can still have its day on a local patio. That's because on July 1, new regulations took effect in Denver for restaurants that want to turn over at least part of their patios to pooches, and Racines, which has very dog-friendly owners, was quick to comply.
For restaurants that want to cater to dogs as well as diners, here are the official rules from the Denver Department of Environmental Health:
The retail food establishment shall have signs posted stating that dogs are allowed in the outdoor dining area. One sign shall be posted in a conspicuous location visible upon entrance to the interior of the retail food establishment, and another sign shall be posted in a conspicuous location visible upon entrance to the outdoor dining area. Patios which are greater than 400 square feet and allow dogs must also provide clear signage indicating which portion of the patio is dog friendly and which is reserved for dining without dogs. Such signage shall also inform patrons that problems with dogs on the premises be reported to the proprietor and may be reported to the Department of Environmental Health.
Racines posted its first sign on the gate leading to the patio, which is the entrance that dogs and their owners use -- keeping the pets out of the restaurant proper. And since the two-level patio is greater than 400 square feet, the back half is declared dog-free by another sign.
According to Danica Lee, the Environmental Health official who helped shepherd through the rules change, restaurants that have already jumped through all the appropriate licensing hoops with the city don't need to apply to open dog-friendly patios -- but they do need to comply with all the rules. And diners, take note: If a patio is smaller than 400 square feet, the restaurant can still make it dog-friendly -- but then there can be no wait service in the area.
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