Pet-Friendly Patio Review
by Michael Bell
Around our home, the start of December is usually a joyful time of year due mostly to the biggest globally recognized holiday, Christmas. This year, Christmas will look a little different as we have all faced the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The great news is that Christmas is not canceled, decorations are being hung, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Several vaccines are under production, and as of the writing of this article, they are being distributed today to various hospitals across the state. Despite all of that, this Christmas, some of our favorite activ-ities will have a different appearance. We may even have to experience some virtually.
Restaurants, especially those considered small business, were one of the hardest-hit industries during this challenging year. That is my moti-vation for continuing to visit the little hidden gems of our community and discover all the pet-friendly ones that I possibly can. I want to make sure they are given the recognition of be-ing pet-friendly and not just pet-tolerant. (There is a difference as I have stated in past articles.)
On a bright and sunny afternoon in Decem-ber with the temperature an abnormally warm but comfortable 65 degrees, Lancelot, Jake and I were on a nice walk along the picturesque inner-city area of OKC known as the Film Row district. Lancelot was stopping about every 30 feet or so to take in all the new smells as we seldom walk that path. The pups were excited and with good reason; they knew we were going to try out another dog-friendly restaurant.
Approaching the corner of Sheridan and Shartel avenues, the pups became even more excited because they saw several people out and about. Lancelot loves people and attention. I was standing in the middle of all the people when I realized we were in front of our destination for our lunch interview with the owner of Caeli’s Sweets, Eats and Bar, located at 726 W. Sheridan.
We walked inside and made our introduction to Kenny, one of the owners. He introduced me to his mother who happens to be the reason the restaurant is even in existence. Kenny and his wife Thu (pronounced Two) operate the restaurant along with Kenny’s mother. The restaurant is named after their great-niece and their mother’s love for cooking. Baked goods are the driving force behind this small hidden purveyor of delights. The recipes used have been passed down through generations and have an obvious Italian flair.
I was a few minutes early for our interview, so I ordered the day’s special of a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of gumbo. With the weather so nice, the pups and I took a seat out-side. The order came quickly along with water for the pups and a bag of cookies that were made right there especially for the dogs. My taste buds were delighted when I took my first bite of the gumbo. This flavorful dish will probably become one of my go-to weekly lunches.
After I had eaten some, Kenny reappeared and was ready for the interview. Kenny and Thu’s own love for dogs is what inspired their pet-friendly business. Their dog, Duchess, was rescued from the street right in front of the restaurant.
The restaurant’s patio was recently expanded through the Oklahoma Streatery, a program Oklahoma City established to help alleviate some of the loss of income for restaurants due to coronavirus-related restrictions. This program is funded through the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.
It allows for reimbursement of building retrofit costs that are necessary due to the coronavirus health emergency, such as expanding the seating capacity of restaurants and bars to accommodate social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC.
At this little restaurant, you are treated like more than a customer; they work hard to make you feel like family. If you are out and about walking your dogs one day along Sheridan Avenue in the Film Row district, make sure to stop by this five-paw-reviewed restaurant. It’s dog approved!
Have a simple libation from their bar, or try the delicious food and sweet treats. Whatever you decide, I am certain you and your pups will feel right at home and enjoy every bite.