Almost anything is possible when you enter The Pawtio, the first “pet restaurant” in D-FW that will feature live music, a mini bar, an art gallery, and of course, quality gourmet food for pets and, occasionally, their humans.
Located on the corner of Frisco Square Boulevard, The Pawtio opens March 12, 2022, and will provide a unique experience in which animals can eat a full, holistic and balanced meal ranging from appetizers, entrees and desserts to pet-friendly cocktails called “lickers.” When pets are dining in, their owners can view and buy art while listening to live performances from local musicians and DJs. Guests are even greeted by Samba, a talking and dancing macaw. If you’re lucky, he may even do a trick for you.
Founders Giulio and Carolina Ferrari (known as “The Rave Mom and Dad of Dallas”) are no novices when it comes to the pet industry. For 12 years, the couple has run pet store The Paw Depot, which is about a block away from The Pawtio in the Frisco Square. Together, they have combined their passion and love for music, art, food and animals into opening an additional new business. The Pawtio is simply a creation of a collaborative pet restaurant adventure — think retail meets entertainment and dining.
“You won’t find another place in D-FW where you can see amazing art, listen to great music, talk to friends, sit, stay, sip and give your dog a bone… or a full-course meal if you choose,” Giulio says.
The Ferraris have always wanted to develop a place where they could be creative and have fun. They believe that a successful retail experience should appeal to all five senses so that it can generate a memory. Giulio refers to this as “positive trauma,” which is also the name of a docuseries that he is working on.
At The Pawtio, all animals and humans are welcome, and the Ferraris intend for it to be a nonjudgmental, safe place for everyone to connect. Formerly home to Tavern on the Square, the space has now been transformed into a dine-in pet haven. It also naturally attracts many people exercising and walking with their dogs.
“We create and brainstorm everything together. We didn’t have a crew do it, everything in Pawtio is under the creation of Carolina and I,” Giulio says. “We created this whole thing, from the chandeliers, to the wallpaper and menu items, to every single detail that has gone up, it has been done by us.”
Inside, the theme is bohemian-chic with some Tulum inspiration. There is seating and cushioned furniture for both pets and humans inside the restaurant and outside on the patio, and you’ll find hints of blue throughout the space, even in the feathered chandeliers.
Carolina says that dogs tend to notice the color blue more often than other colors. “We wanted to create something that was a contemporary mix of modern day design and with pops of blue into the aesthetics for the dogs,” Carolina says. “It creates a much more relaxing, peaceful environment for them to eat in.”
It certainly wasn’t easy for the Ferraris to get their idea understood. After weeks of discussing health and safety concerns with the City of Frisco about a dining space for pets and humans, and winter weather delaying other inspections, the Ferraris finally got final approval.
“Being the first to do anything is always hard. I had a really hard time to get this concept accepted through the city,” Giulio says. “I had to talk to plenty of city council members, technicians and the head of the health department in order to get this business concept approved.”
The meals on the menu are prepared sous vide by the Ferraris in-house. Everything on the menu is meant to be “healthy and functional,” Giulio says. “The food is human grade, but it’s balanced for dogs or cats and will have a mix of amino acids and meats. It’s not tasty for us, nor prepared for human consumption, but the pets absolutely love it,” Giulio says.
The meats are also GAP (humanely raised and Good Agriculture Practices) certified. “We really went out to source from the some of best producers in the U.S. so that we could offer nutritious, balanced meals on the menu,” Carolina says.
For the drinks, The Pawtio offers a variety of “cocktails” that are called “lickers,” which is a clever play on the word liquor. “The drinks are all functional supplements, which are a healthy indulgence for your pet,” Carolina says.
The Pink Martini is a probiotic concoction of goat milk, cranberry and apple cider vinegar, and is topped with ginger and cinnamon for a dog’s stomach and digestive system. The Old Fashioned Yeller is a blend of collagen, cartilage and broth that helps support the hips and joints of a dog. Other probiotic drinks include The Hulk, made with goat milk, kale, turmeric, and quinoa, and Jello Shots are made of gelatinous bone broth.
Appetizers will include a goat cheese platter, fermented pig feet, duck eggs and “Pupcorn.”“Pupcorn” are little nuggets of Tibetan yak cheese that look like a piece of kernel corn. When you put them in the microwave, the moisture in it expands and they become a cheese puff. “It’s safe for human consumption, but it doesn’t have much of a taste to it,” Giulio says. “Dogs love it though, and it’s naturally lactose-free.”
For the entrees, there will be raw options of tartare that include either raw beef, duck, or rabbit depending on the season. The Pawtio will also have meatloaf, beef stew and chicken masala. The meatloaf consists of beef, beef liver, tomatoes, green peas, carrots and potatoes, and is seasoned with thyme and parsley. The chicken masala will be a mix of quinoa, chicken liver, sweet potatoes, spinach, apples and kale.
“Dogs like a diet that includes beef, beef heart, beef liver, beef lungs, which are things that as a human we won’t usually eat,” Giulio says “That’s why this is food for dogs, and even though we use human-grade ingredients, we don’t use preservatives or artificial ingredients, and everything is whole, organic and natural.”
They’ll also be offering sliders and burgers that are all served on pumpkin puree made with coconut oil, organic parsley, spinach, broccoli, squash, pumpkin and flax seeds. The Ferraris call the burgers “Animal Style” (a play off In-N-Out’s secret menu item) because there will be no bread, just pumpkin puree.
To complete the menu, The Pawtio offers an assortment of desserts and treats. They have an in-house frozen yogurt machine with flavor options like cheddar and bacon or pumpkin and cinnamon. The yogurt is made from goat milk, grinded with bacon bits, and mixed with goat cheese. Other desserts include a “Pupcake,” CBD cookies, and Goat Milk Panna Cotta.
Since the Pawtio kitchen is dedicated exclusively to making pet food, the Ferraris cannot cook for humans, according Frisco’s health regulations. Instead, there will be food trucks or food stands outside that serve various street foods for humans. The food trucks will feature Salvadorian pupusas, Brazilian coxinhas, Sri Lankan samosas and Argentinian empanadas.
Outside, The Pawtio will also have a small beer garden with a variety of local brews, kombucha on tap, and specialty canned cocktails.
The Ferraris have plenty of experience with pets and food. Carolina was raised in her family’s restaurants in both Spain and Brazil. After the couple met in 1999, Giulio would immerse himself in the restaurants, learning how to make authentic Spanish and Brazilian cuisines. They opened a pet store in Brazil in 2001, then sold it and moved to the U.S. in 2003.
When the Ferraris aren’t working, they have a passion for hosting parties and DJing at raves. The Pawtio will include some of their artistic leanings, with an art gallery featuring local artists and 3D printing of pet portraits, and live musical performances every day, from live jazz and Brazilian pagode to samba music.
“It’s not just entertainment, it’s ‘EDUtainment,’ we are educating the public,” Giulio says. “It’s curated cultural entertainment to bring bits of the world that we have traveled to into Frisco.”
Carolina says The Pawtio is more than just a business. “As a community, we have been through a lot the last couple of years, and we all need to heal. We lack places to do that healing,” she says. “Pets and food help people drop their shields, while art and music help people to connect and heal. These are all the things that have helped Giulio and I to heal from all of the scars and trauma in our life.”
The Pawtio opens March 12, 2022 at 6142 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco. 469-287-6869. instagram.com/pawtio.