Willie loves the warm summer days when he can head to Besito in Huntington to drink cool water and munch on some tasty biscuits. Only the water is in a bowl rather than a glass and the biscuits are the Milk-Bone, not buttermilk, variety.
Willie is a yellow Lab, and dining at the Mexican restaurant with his master, Mike Cacace, is always a tail-wagging treat. "He can cool down with some water, and I can cool down with a margarita," says Cacace.
But Besito isn't the only eatery in Suffolk where four-legged friends and their masters are welcome - outdoors, of course, on either sidewalk cafes or courtyards, in compliance with the New York State health code. Here are a few pup-ular spots to dine with Fido.
Besito, 402 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-549-0100, besitomex.com
Ay Chihuahua! It would be harder to find a restaurant that loves to cater to the canine crowd more than Besito. "We've been doing this forever. Dogs are man's best friend," says owner John Tunney.
Even better than the water and biscuits, is the star treatment dogs are given. "Most of the dogs become a celebrity when they're at the restaurant. Other patrons or people walking by will come up and start asking the owners what kind of dog they have, etc.," says Tunney. "The dogs love it.
Porto Vivo,7 Gerard St., Huntington, 631-385-8486, porto-vivo.com
This is the first summer Porto Vivo has had an outdoor dining area, which means dogs are now welcome.
"I've had dogs and I used to work in the city. One of the nicest things about restaurants in the city was that people who want to eat nice food could still bring their dog," says David Costa, general manager of Porto Vivo. "I wanted to do that here."
Costa says most of his customers have smaller dogs and they're always kept by their owner's side. Right now Porto Vivo has four outside tables, so it's best to make a reservation for you and your pet.
Meehan's of Huntington, 371 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-351-0831, meehansrestaurant.com
Dogs have always been welcome at this Irish restaurant since the day it opened. While their masters sip on a beer, pooches can lap up water at the outdoor feeding station or chomp on a dog treat. "The dogs aren't intruding with anybody else, so we're happy to have them," says manager Lorraine Lanz.
Some people also order food for their dogs, Lanz said, but Meehan's, like most restaurants, doesn't have a specific doggie menu. "We're crazy," she says, "but not that crazy."
Pentimento, 93 Main St., Stony Brook, 631-689-7755, pentimentorestaurant.net
Dogs have been al fresco customers at Pentimento for 16 years. "It started because people would show up with their dogs, and since people are very attached to their dogs, we wanted to accommodate them," says Dennis Young, owner and chef at the continental restaurant.
Young says dogs are always well-behaved and that barking dogs have only been a problem once or twice. Customers sometimes order from the menu for their pals and, of course, they're always welcome to bring home a doggie bag.
>> VIDEO: Cookies for Canines class in session
'Cookies for Canines', 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 17 and Oct. 26 at Viking Cooking School, 835 Franklin Ave., Garden City
INFO 516-877-1010, vikingcookingschool.com
Whole wheat flour, natural peanut butter, fresh mint . . . so goes the roster of ingredients in Viking's newest baking workshop, in which students learn to prepare breath-busting biscuits, "pupcake" muffins and other gourmet treats for four-leggers. "I think it's pretty awesome," said Catherine Giordano, 25, of Wantagh, as she drizzled melted carob on a bone-shaped biscuit for her dog, Tiger Lily, during class in July.