(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nate Zubal eats on the patio at the Pig and Jelly Jar with his dog, Carmel, on Friday, June 12, 2015.
Campfire Lounge in Salt Lake City was the first business to apply and receive the variance in 2015. By summer 2016, nine more restaurants were granted variances.
In 2017, California Pizza Kitchen in Murray and Fisher Brewing in Salt Lake City have been added to the list.
Getting the variance made sense for Todd and Kristine Gardiner, co-owners of the three Taqueria 27 restaurants. Their restaurants are in mostly walkable or residential areas in downtown Salt Lake City, on Foothill Boulevard (also in Salt Lake) and in Holladay.
“People like to take a walk and come down for dinner with their dogs,” Kristine Gardiner said. “It’s a great draw for us.”
Gardiner said following the health department requirements are easy, but applying for the variance — which requires writing and submitting a detailed health plan — can be intimidating.
“When you’re running a restaurant, you might not have time to go through the long process,” she said.
• Post signs so patrons know that dogs may be on the premises.
• Have an outdoor entrance so dogs don’t go through interior dining areas.
• Clean the patio every six hours or whenever there is a shift change, using animal-friendly products.
• Clean and sanitize “accidents” within 5 minutes.
Dog owners have responsibilities, too:
• Pets must remain on leash and have collars with current license and rabies tag.
• No dogs allowed on tables or chairs.
• Dogs may not have contact with any dishes or utensils.
Restaurants can give pets water in disposable containers, but the animals may not eat food — including dog food or treats — while on the restaurant patio.
The variance, which has an initial $315 fee, is good for one year, and establishments in good standing can renew annually for $100, Rupp said.
When the county started the program, the initial fee was $350, but the cost dropped this year because “it takes staff less time to complete a review and site check than it did when we first introduced the program,” Rupp said.
As the weather gets warmer, the department is trying to get the word out to restaurants and cafes with outdoor eating areas that they need to apply for a variance to allow dogs on the patio.
“We support business that make this choice,” added Jeff Oaks, the department’s food protection bureau manager, “and our goal is to ensure they do so with cleanliness and safety in mind.”