SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — When Rahmi Massarweh graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the world, he envisioned owning a high-end restaurant serving the most sophisticated palates.
His dream came true, though his customers are connoisseurs of a different breed.
“If you would have asked me back then, ‘So when’s your dog cafe opening?’ I would have looked at you like, ‘What are you talking about? that’s a huge insult.'”
Welcome to Dogue (which rhymes with “Vogue”), a new French-style cafe in The Mission district, exclusively dedicated to the four-legged.
“It’s about healthy, good, real food,” Massarweh said. “The presentation is a vehicle to help shine a line on that.”
This isn’t Puppy Chow. It’s a three-course prix fixe meal at a very human price of $75 per customer on a Sunday brunch (customers can order à la carte on any other day).
On this Sunday, Massarweh was adding a 24-karat gold leaf to his gourmet pastry. And that was just the beginning.
“We’re doing a chicken and Chaga mushroom soup, and then we have a chicken skin waffle and charcoal flan, and our final course is steak tartare,” Massarweh said.
It all started when Masarweh and his wife Alejandra noticed their beloved rescue, a huge Mastiff named Grizzly, wasn’t eating his dry food. So, Massarweh did a little digging and started preparing fresh meals that easily rival top restaurants along the Champs-Élysées.
It’s already attracting an enthusiastic clientele. Cory and Bacon, two adorable Corgis wearing bow ties, flew in from out of town with their humans just to get a taste.
“They are our kids, we don’t have human children,” said Bacon’s mom, Ginger Sirlin. “We take them everywhere.”
Not everyone is going gaga over doggie gourmet. Critics have expressed outrage over high-priced pet meals as thousands go hungry in the Bay Area. But Massarweh said they’re missing the point.
“It’s difficult to verbalize just how much our animals mean to us,” he said. “I would do anything for them and if there’s any way that I can buy some time and make their lives happier or extend their life by just a day I’ll do it.”