Heidi and I did not , but we were among the first on the scene to take advantage of another local revolution: Los Angeles County’s ruling earlier this week allowing pet dogs (that is, non-service animals) to sit with their owners on restaurant patios.
Not quite as exciting as getting a seat at the Academy Awards like , last Sunday -- but a wall has come tumblin’ down in Studio City and environs.
There are many L.A. area restaurants that allow pets at outside tables, but the new ruling specifically addresses patios with any kind of railing around them separating the area from the sidewalk, until now off limits for pooches even if they don’t smoke.
We’d like to thank numerous Valley establishments for allowing Heidi to join the human patrons in designated areas –and count among our favorites (and a very belated apology to the woman at Vivian’s who once uttered a small scream when she turned to find a curious and hungry German shepherd peeking over her shoulder at her pancakes).
But others including Paty’s Restaurant in Toluca Lake, have insisted the dog sit on the other side of a fence, pressing her woebegone face to the bars like a big-eared prisoner. A carryout container full of water only goes so far in diluting the bitter taste of rejection.
Heidi was a favorite patio guest at Killer Shrimp, the restaurant that formerly occupied Jinky’s current location at 4000 Colfax Ave. But when Jinky’s moved in, the patio barrier went up. Heidi was very apologetically banned, and we sadly brunched elsewhere.
We had our defenses up when we rolled into Jinky’s parking lot on Thursday. For our planned sit-in, Heidi, always the pacifist, was wearing one of her favorite bandanas, a ‘60s-style number decorated in neon colors with daisies, peace signs and the word “love” (we dedicate a daisy to the passing of ). I also planned a peaceful entry, but I had a copy of an L.A. Times story on the new ruling in my purse, ready to be unfurled in righteous indignation if anyone tried to keep us out --though, to be fair, the ruling does indeed allow restaurant owners to make their own personal choice not to allow dogs.
But we were admitted without a hitch. Dogs still can’t stroll through the indoor seating area, but this patio, surrounded by a glass-paneled fence, allows access from the parking lot. In fact, the host who showed us to the table seemed oblivious to Heidi, asking me if I wanted a table for one. “Two,” I said, pointing to the dog. No problem – we could sit wherever we wanted.
In fact, Heidi wasn’t the only dog there. Alan Black of North Hollywood was brunching with his two Chihuahuas, Sophia and Luca. Don’t let the little sweater fool you: Luca is a tough customer who has been known to charge a Doberman. Black seemed pleased to hear of the new ruling, but admitted he’s brought the mini-pooches to this patio before – they’re more likely to escape notice than a 70-pound shepherd. He’s devoted to his pets. “If they can’t go, I can’t go,” Black said.
Waitperson Laura Schulze, a neighborhood newcomer who has lived in Studio City for only five months, was very much aware of the new ruling because so many patrons have wanted to bring dogs but had to be turned down. “Now everybody’s happy, everyone wins,” she says.
While Heidi and I enjoyed biscuits (her) and excellent oat pancakes (me) in the sun on the Jinky’s patio, I couldn’t help but notice the music playing on the sound system: Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 anthem “For What It’s Worth,” with the familiar lyrics: “There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear…stop, hey, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down.”
We’re too young for Woodstock, and perhaps too ambivalent about the method for Occupy L.A. – but Heidi and I were there for this historic moment of doggy freedom, going down in Studio City.