New Austin bar Mutts Canine Cantina will offer a spot where furry friends can run free while pet parents enjoy the margaritas.
By Jordan Burnham, Photos courtesy of Mutts Canine Cantina
In a city known for its love of furry friends, a new locale will bring an off-leash alternative to traditional dog- friendly settings in Austin. In spring 2020, twin sisters Laura Landers and Lisa Ladewig, along with Darrell Landers, will open Austin’s first Mutts Canine Cantina, a franchise based out of Dallas. But there’s even more for local pups to yap about: After launching the first Austin location, the sisters will then open two additional canine cantinas in the Austin area in the following two years.
Mutts Canine Cantina is a membership-driven private dog park with a cantina that features a full bar—which serves up its signature Barkarita—as well as offers sandwiches, burgers and snacks.
As twins, Ladewig and Landers imagined opening a business together for years. After Landers heard about Mutts in 2018, she immediately called Ladewig to share the unique business concept.
“She has a sales and marketing background, and I have a finance and operations background,” Landers says. “When I heard about it, I was like, ‘This is it, Lisa,’ and when I told her, she loved the idea.”
In January, the twins’ longtime dream became a reality when they signed on as the first multiunit franchisees of Mutts Canine Cantina.
“We’re proud to be women business owners in Austin,” Ladewig says.
Mutts members will have access to two off-leash dog parks, one for dogs 30 pounds and lighter, the other for heavier dogs. Ladewig says the off-leash, open space for dogs to frolic and play is a factor that separates Mutts from other dog-focused businesses in Austin.
“You have all of the pet-friendly locations, especially in Austin, where you can bring your dog, but they have to be on a leash and they’re usually tied up and have to be underneath the table. But then there’s Mutts,” she says.
Mutts’ environment is akin to a second home, Landers says. When the duo initially visited the original Dallas location, she says everyone she spoke with loved the amicable environment where strangers are only one conversation away from becoming friends.
“People feel comfortable coming in and just being themselves and drinking and having entertainment for them and their dog,” she says. “It’s whimsical and fun and fresh.”
Along with treats for pet parents, Mutts Canine Cantina will offer “pupsicles,” frozen doggie delicacies made from beef broth, peanut butter and an edible bone.
The first Central Texas Mutts Canine Cantina, which is in the final stages of negotiation, will be located in Northwest Austin and will feature a 1.6-acre space for four-legged friends to romp.
“We’re excited about being the best part of a dog’s day,” Landers says.
Even Austinites who aren’t dog parents are welcome. With a full bar and menu, Mutts’ covered patio offers a spot to relax and observe all the action at the dog park.
In addition to the dog park and cantina patio, Landers says the Mutts locations will have a doggie wash station, as well as other surprise amenities to keep pets cool during hot Austin summers.
As for the second and third canine cantina locations, Landers says they could be anywhere in the Austin area, including in East Austin or South Austin, or in Georgetown or Round Rock, Texas.
“We’re going to actually live our tagline,” Landers says, “which is ‘Come. Sit. Stay.’ ”