Popular Newark business adds dog menu to its offering at new busy location

General manager, Lara-May Gratton with Bear
General manager, Lara-May Gratton with Bear -Credit:Laycie Beck

After spending two decades in Middlegate, Newark, the popular business Strays moved into its current location at The Ossington, where it is everything from a coffee shop to a restaurant and a cocktail bar to a live music location. Best known for its tasty menu and relaxing jazz, the venue has been thriving since its move into the historic Grade II listed building.

Whilst it's always been dog-friendly, the family-run business has taken it a step further and has now launched a mini menu for dogs. Instead of just adding a jar of dog biscuits by the till, the business has a choice of three tasty treats for your pets, which are all-natural and from the nearby independent pet business K9 Newark.

However, many places say they are dog friendly but are often expecting small dogs and don't always have the space for larger ones or multiple dogs to join their owners for a visit. I decided to take my rottweiler Bear to Strays on a Friday morning, to see how dog-friendly it really was and to give him a chance to test out the new dog menu whilst I tried one of their famous coffees.

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The dog menu includes a choice of a rabbit, boar or venison treat
The dog menu includes a choice of a rabbit, boar or venison treat

Upon arrival, we sat at the front of the business where people with dogs are encouraged to sit, but this worked perfectly for us as we were popping in for a hot drink rather than having a full lunch.

It wasn't long until staff members started popping over to say hi to Bear and give him some fuss, as because of his giant size he's hard to miss. He also had a cheeky smile on his face as I told him he'd be getting a treat. We sat down by the window and had a lovely view of Newark Castle, and if we sat on the other side we would have had a great view of the River Trent.

In summer Stray's will be opening up the patio area outside, which will mean even more seating and you could enjoy your dinner al fresco style whilst watching the sunset over the river. As the business is known for its coffee, they have a lot of different options that they can whip up with their impressive machines.

I ordered a Mellow Mat, which is their version of a flat white
I ordered a Mellow Mat, which is their version of a flat white

I'm quite particular about my coffee, so decided to order a Mellow Mat, which is their version of a flat white and is named after Mat Short, who is the co-founder of Strays. My drink came beautifully presented with a cheeky Lotus biscuit on the side, which I was rather pleased about as they are absolutely my favourite.

Meanwhile, I decided to order Bear each of the three treats on the dog menu, which were Boar, Rabbit and Venision, and all 100 per cent natural chews that are high in protein and grain-free. The packaging was very nice, and it felt like an actual treat for Bear, rather than just a basic biscuit.

After giving him the choice, he was desperate to open the Boar treat, and for around two minutes he happily lied on the floor munching away. Despite only being two, he's a rather large dog just shy of 50kg, so I think for most other dogs the treat would have lasted a lot longer.

Halfway through my coffee, I then made the mistake of opening my biscuit and he popped up thinking I had opened one of his. I gave him the rabbit one which he was licking his lips for, and saved the Boar one as a treat for another day.

The rabbit treat was Bear's favourite
The rabbit treat was Bear's favourite

The whole time we were there customers and staff members said hello to him, and he was a bit cheeky now and then wanting to have a look at people passing by, but everyone was lovely and it truly was such a dog-friendly location, I could not recommend enough.

Speaking about the decision to add options for dogs, general manager, Lara-May Gratton, said: "Because we are a dog-friendly cafe we wanted to be able to give the dogs a treat when they come in, and they are £2.50 each but they are individually wrapped and they are all natural and it supports another local business as well.

"We get dogs of all sizes here, they are all welcome. Mat's mottos is if we feed the kids, we can feed your dogs." She explained the business often gets "around 10 to 15 dogs every day" and it's great for people to be able to come in after a walk, and not have to wait awkwardly outside or sit in the cold just because they have a pet with them.

She added: "We want it to be a very chilled and relaxed vibe, we want people to be able to come with their families and their dogs and leave happy and want to some back."