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Hampden for Hounds

In a city known for its unique neighborhoods, Hampden is one of Baltimore’s most distinctive—and dog friendly.
Written by Amy Myers | Above photo by Richard and Tara Photography
Meet Luna (pictured here). This Australian shepherd puppy is an expert on pet-friendly places appropriate for fellow Baltimore dogs. Luna recently visited the popular local neighborhood, Hampden, where small businesses and restaurants border Roosevelt and Wyman parks. She led us down 36th Street, in the heart of it all, to the restaurants and shops equipped with patios and porches with outdoor seating to accommodate their furry customers. So which ones did Luna like best?

Howl. Inside this local pet store is an abundance of must-have natural and organic treats, toys and gear for an energetic city dog like Luna. Owned by the same Baltimore resident for thirteen years, Howl knows how to treat your dog!

The staff helped Luna pick out a new harness, Lamb Chop chew toy, water bowl and treats. Not only were they understanding of Luna’s curious nose, but they were also able to provide us with valuable nutritional information that even a dog owner pro can learn from. (Did you know that you should rotate your dog’s protein every few months to avoid food allergies?) Luna was especially grateful for the free treat samples. The Howl staff helped Luna fit into her new Freedom No Pull harness that is both effective and fashionable—of course the pup was offered an incentive: Vital Essentials freeze-dried wild salmon snacks. Yum!

Café Hon. You’re not a true Bawlmer resident until you stop by this café, hon! The restaurant captures the spirit of Maryland diners in both food and décor. Café Hon knows the importance of crab, Old Bay, and Maryland colors is to proud Baltimore natives. The menu also includes many Café Hon original plates (we decided to try the Mexi Hon Salad). We sit outside beneath the famous, large pink flamingo at one of the two metal tables. The servers are more than happy to bring Luna a bowl of water and a plate of tortilla chips of her own. Luna may be one of their regular customers now. Next time, we’ll try their homemade desserts.

Luna stretches out in a food coma after munching on tortilla chips from the Mexi Hon Salad, but even though her belly is full, it’s time to scout out the rest of hound-friendly Hampden!

Daniela Pasta and Pastries. Time for a history lesson! Did you know that in the 1960’s Baltimore’s population was over 70% Italian? Daniela Useli keeps Baltimore’s history alive in her restaurant, where she prepares fresh and authentic Italian dishes originally from her home in Sardinia, Italy. And of course, they offer outdoor seating!

Up the short staircase to the restaurant, you will find plenty of tables for all the Lady’s and Tramp’s that also enjoy a good pasta dish. The servers will of course bring your pup some water. And, maybe if you ask nicely the chef will serenade your pooch with a mandolin.

Blue Pit BBQ and Whiskey Bar. Warning: If you bring your dogs to this restaurant, you may never get them to leave! Blue Pit has worked closely with the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Shelter, Inc. (BARC) in countless fundraisers and events. During the winter, they have offered photo shoots with Santa Paws and holiday sweater photo contests. Year round, they place photos of adoptable BARC dogs near the bar. If you’re lucky, you may spot their official mascot, Sakai the blue pit bull!

The outdoor seating features communal wooden picnic tables in a fenced-in patio, giving your pup a break from the sight of the streets. Blue Pit’s backyard even won “Best Outdoor Seating” in the 2015 issue of Baltimore City Magazine’s Best of Baltimore. And to top it off, they offer complementary treats and water.

But don’t worry… there are plenty of treats for the owners as well! With over 100 American whiskies, wide selection of beer and cocktails, and mouth-watering barbeque, and even vegan-friendly items, Blue Pit can accommodate any customer—both two-legged and four-legged!

The Verdict. Luna’s day in Hampden consisted of many treats, toys, and friends… Every puppy’s dream! Though Hampden is a small neighborhood, there are many places and activities where pets and owners are welcome and invited. Just remember to bring a leash, a doggy bag, and a camera.

More Information

3531 Chestnut Ave, Baltimore, MD

Café Hon
1002 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD

Daniela Pasta and Pastries
824 W 36th St, Baltimore, MD

Blue Pit BBQ and Whiskey Bar
1601 Union Ave, Baltimore, MD
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