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3 Atlanta Restaurants for Animal Lovers

***Written by guest bloggers Henna Bakshi and Andy Leverett***

Andy and I love animals, but living in the city can mean not getting enough of the wild side. We went on an adventure to find some of Atlanta’s quirkiest spots for animal lovers, and you won’t believe what we’ve found. For starters, wine and brunch specials for your dog exist.

Wine for Dogs at City Winery (Ponce City Market) 

It was pretty simple: we were determined to give Banks, the dog, the best day of her life.

Who doesn’t love a hearty brunch on a beautiful patio—soaking up some sun, sipping on crisp wine, while nibbling on a strip of bacon? We’re talking about the pooch!

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

City Winery delivers not just menus for humans but a whole “Canine Cuisine” menu for your doggies, too! The treats include dog wine with the best names, including Chardognay, Zinfantail, and Malbark (HA!). They ring up at $10 a pop. And there are some puppy bites too, like Bow Wow Chicken, grilled pieces of chicken breast ($3), Bone Appetit, 3 strips of crispy bacon ($3), and Pooched Egg, 2 scrambled eggs ($3). Give whoever came up with these menu item names a medal, City Winery!

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Banks loved everything she tried. All her food came served in a tray, arranged as though she was a VIP pup at a resort.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

The dog wine, which is basically a mixture of all-natural ingredients like chamomile extract, yellow and red beets, anise seed, bacon flavoring, and peppermint extract (for fresh breath), was a hit, too. Banks slurped up a glass of Chardognay like a fine lady taking a break after shopping on a summer’s day. So chic, Banks.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Humans got plenty of treats, too! City Winery has a vast brunch menu, including their amazing selection of house-made wines. It touts itself for being an “urban winery” and having wine on tap. We ordered a wine flight along with some shrimp and grits ($25), Greek yogurt with berries and granola ($8), and a wild mushroom flatbread ($16). While Banks enjoyed her dog wine and munchies, we had a blast sipping through their portfolio of (people) wines.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

City Winery’s offerings don’t end here. Besides a pooch-friendly patio, it also holds an event space for concerts, a cellar with some French oak aging in the basement, and a speak-easy bar. You can get a detailed wine tour with reservations online.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Coffee and Cats at Java Cats Café (Grant Park)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BW59nqIlCU8/

Video by Andy Leverett and Henna Bakshi

Dreams do come true. There’s a café in Grant Park where you can sip on freshly ground coffee AND pet cats, all at the same time! Java Cats Café is the first of its kind in Atlanta, and is the brainchild of Hayden Hilton.

The café has a cat lounge where up to 20 kitties are sheltered in partnership with PAWS. Better yet, if you end up falling in love with a furball, you can adopt them! So far, over 80 cats have already been adopted.

You must make a reservation to get into the lounge, and boy, is it popular! $10 gets you a complimentary coffee or tea, and an hour-long cuddle session with the cats. However, you don’t need a reservation to simply go into the café for some food and coffee. There is see-through glass seating where you can still look at the kitties batting at feather toys.

The food comes from the Gathering Industries, a non-profit that provides aid to the homeless. It’s good vibes all-around.

Big Birds at R.Thomas’s Deluxe Grille (Brookwood)

This restaurant sits in the midst of what seems like a gnome garden from the 70s: a hodge-podge of brightly colored plants, benches on white rocks, and a string of wind chimes that outline the outside of the building. However, the star attraction isn’t the neon lights or the covered patio dining room—it’s the beautiful big birds! They’ve got parrots, cockatoos, doves, and even a toucan who loves eating raisins and storing them in his beak!

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Jackie from the restaurant took us on a tour and let us feed the birds slices of oranges, almonds and raisins for treats.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Peaches and Cream (another medal for naming them, please) are brothers and the friendliest big birds you’ll ever meet. They both move with the slowness of a grandmother’s stroll and gently bow their heads so you can pet them.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Peaches was happy to be out in the sun; he even showed us his gorgeous crown feathers!

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

The most wonderful part was that all the birds were rescue-animals. They all had stories of a tragic past but now had a loving place to call home. I’m sure if you visit, Jackie will be happy to share their tales. Or maybe this fella will! He talks and says things like “how ya doin’ there, buddy?” in a middle-aged man’s voice!

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Birds aside, R.Thomas has an amazing food portfolio to stand on, too. They’re a 24/7 eatery (what else can this café do??) with dishes that are made with local, organic produce.

I got their best seller, the Thai Express bowl, which consisted of quinoa topped with a sauté of broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, scallion, red onion and cilantro in a spicy peanut sauce ($17.75). The price was worth the meal; it tasted so vibrant and fresh. I loved the quinoa bed—it not only kept the dish light, it made for a far less calorie-count than rice or pasta. I had plenty of leftovers to take home.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

Andy ordered their Organic Salmon Piccata, which was lightly dusted with amaranth flour and sautéed in lemon and clarified butter sauce, served on quinoa with broccoli and fennel, raw collard kale salad and Dijon hiziki ($19.99). This was a show stealer! I don’t think I’ve ever had such good salmon. The lemony crispness of the fish with the delicate vegetables was a very refreshing treat. We highly recommend these dishes. The menu boasts plenty of other options, including breakfast dishes, pasta, wraps, freshly made smoothies, and desserts.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

This funky restaurant was a big hit with us. The fine dining surely takes your taste buds on a journey, but really all you have to do is walk in for a trip.

Photo credit: Andy Leverett

If you visit any of these amazing places, tag us in your pictures and let us know!

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