Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Holiday 2015 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.
Cat cafes are trending around the world. But what about cat-themed restaurants for cat lovers? Yes, they exist, too. Be sure to include these establishments on your itinerary when you visit these destinations.
It makes perfect sense that a city called Los Gatos, Spanish for “the cats,” would be home to an eponymous restaurant. The eatery is easy to find thanks to the two large concrete cats sculpted by Robert Paine and known as Leo and Leona. Since 1922, they have guarded the entrance to Poet’s Canyon, where the restaurant is situated.
The building, like its feline namesakes, has had many lives. It was once a stop on a stagecoach route and had a history as a speakeasy and as a bordello. During the 1940s and ‘50s, the building housed a realty office, a gun shop, and a sporting goods store. It has operated as a restaurant since the 1960s and has earned a reputation for slow pit barbecue ribs and steaks featuring an award-winning rub. Arrive hungry, and be prepared to take a doggie, er, kitty bag, when you leave.
17533 Santa Cruz Hwy., Los Gatos, CA 95033.
Farm-to-table dining, a signature of the slow food movement, is a popular way for any foodie to spend an evening. The owners, culinary team Adam and Jackie Sappington, refer to their dishes as “a made-from-scratch, farm-to-table experience” that highlights American heritage cuisine. The couple recently published a cookbook, Heartlandia: Heritage Recipes from The Country Cat, featuring some of their special soul food recipes.
Why the name? “When we were working on the concept, an image of a country cat slinking in and out of a typical farmhouse kitchen kept coming to mind,” Jackie explained.
She is a self-confessed “pie geek,” so leave room for dessert.
If you are flying into Portland, there is a second location of the Country Cat at Portland International Airport.
7937 SE Stark St., Portland, OR 97215.
The walls of the Stray Cat Cafe are decorated with the whimsical cat art by Jessica Lovelace, a local. The cafe menu features American sandwich and sundae favorites with quirky feline names. Curly fries are listed as Mouse Tails, while onion rings are Tail Chasers. The cafe’s signature Catnip Dip is a cheesy spinach and artichoke mix made fresh daily and served with warm pita wedges and tricolor tortilla chips.
Owned by Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood, The Stray Cat Cafe is the sister establishment to the Lost Dog Cafe and supports the twosome’s Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, which rescues and places more than 1,000 abandoned dogs and cats in homes every year. A portion of your bill automatically goes to support the foundation. All of the cats featured in framed photographs on the walls are rescued felines, and some are still available for adoption.
5866 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA 22205.
Monkey Cat Restaurant and Bar: 805 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603
The 2 Cats Inn and Cafe: 130 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609.
It’s the Cat’s Meow Cafe: 138 Robinson St., Markham, ON L3P 5H5, Canada.