Black Lab Cafe is NYC’s first dog cafe serving human and canines

This city’s coffee scene has gone to the dogs.

Black Lab Cafe has just opened on the Upper West Side, with menus of treats for both humans and their four-legged companions. It purports to be the first java joint of the canine kind.

“We just said to each other ‘If nobody else is doing it, we might as well open one up ourselves’, and Black Lab Cafe was born,” said Kris Powers, 27, who opened the cafe with his brother Nik, 30, and mother Lise Evans, 54. The family’s black labs — Daisy, 5.5, and Lola 1.5 — serve as mascots for the business.

Owners and dogs enter through a vestibule with two sets of doors — a safety measure in case any pups make a run for it. There’s then a seating area for creatures of all kinds. It connects to a second section, via another glass vestibule, where humans can order food and coffee to bring back to the table area to enjoy with their patiently awaiting pup. Per health department rules, dogs are not allowed in the food-ordering area, but owners can see their pets through a glass partition while they wait for food and drink.

The family run business is managed by Kris Powers, his mother Lise Evans and brother Nik Powers.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
Black Lab Daisy lounges on the couch at Black Lab Cafe in UWS
The cafe is named in honor of their black lab Daisy who inspired them to begin looking into healthy dog ​​food options.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

Dogs can enjoy gourmet grub from the Powers’ company, Clean Bowl Club NYC, while humans get Stone Street coffee and espresso drinks. The menu will soon be expanded to include sandwiches, smoothies, chia puddings and alcoholic beverages for happy — er, yappy — hour.

A set of posted rules advises customers to “play nice,” avoid humping, clean up any accidents and call the “dog bouncer” — one of the owners — if any help is needed.

The Powers family first got involved in the doggie business when they started the Clean Bowl Club NYC in November 2020. When taking Daisy to the vet, they learned that the dry kibble they fed her everyday was highly processed and saturated with vitamin and mineral powders instead of natural or fresh ingredients.

Twin yorkies Lilo and Stitch 6 at Black Lab Cafe
Twin yorkies Lilo and Stitch appreciate the relaxed environment that allows them to meet other small pups.
Courtesy: Jacqueline City
A customer plays with a dog at Black Lab Cafe
Dogs are allowed to roam around the store off leash and get cozy on the furniture with their owner or new friends.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
Rueben the puppy enjoys a treat at Black Lab Cafe
Rueben the Boston Terrier loved making new friends at the new cafe.
Leah Lane

“[It] made us feel increasingly guilty about the kibble we had fed her while she was a puppy,” said Kris. “We knew that we would not consider a similar diet for ourselves and decided we had to do better by Daisy.”

With the help of dog nutrition expert James Pendergast, they formulated dog foods made with fresh vegetables, beef, turkey and chicken. The refrigerated, ready-to-serve meals are made fresh daily and range in price from $6 for 8 ounces to $18 for 24 ounces. Customers can buy the food from the shop or have frozen batches delivered.

So far, neighborhood pets and people are loving the cafe.

Rocky the Morkie loves trotting over the Black Lab Café to roam free with his friends.
Rocky the Morkie loves trotting over the Black Lab Café to roam free with his friends.
Courtesy of @Rockynycmorkie
Fridge at the Black Lab Cafe
Black Lab Café offers their own Clean Bowl Club NYC brand of fresh and healthy dog ​​foods.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
Rules at Black Lab Cafe
The cafe’s rules are posted.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
Black Lab Cafe at 420 Amsterdam in New York City
The shop is located at 420 Amsterdam Ave. on the Upper West Side and plans to host a multitude of dog friendly events.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

Six-year-old Yorkie twins Lilo and Stitch give the cafe “two paws up,” according to owner Jacqueline City, 25, who praised the calm environment and good coffee.

Kim, who frequents the cafe with her Yorkshire terrier-Maltese mix Rocky, 3 1/2, but declined to give her last name, described it as “a great addition to the Upper West Side for dog owners.”

She added, “It’s so fun to be able to have a great cup of coffee and pastries while Rocky meets other dogs.”

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