Pittsburgh's mobile eatery for our four-legged friends | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh's mobile eatery for our four-legged friends

click to enlarge COURTESY OF THE ROLLAWAY DOG CAFÉ
Courtesy of the Rollaway Dog Café
Imagine you’re a dog and it’s been a long day of chasing tennis balls. All you want to do is lay in the grass, get a belly rub, and relax with a bottle of Texas’ finest Good Boy dog beer. Enter the Rollaway Dog Café, Pittsburgh’s first dog food truck. The only thing for humans at The Rollaway Dog Café is bottled water. Everything else — menu and merchandise — is for your pup.

The concept started with Ann Straub, a pet owner and biologist. Straub, constantly battling her pets’ medical issues, decided to leave her work re-integrating wolves in Yellowstone to research pet nutrition. She moved home to Pennsylvania, opened The Holistic Pet Nutrition Center, an animal food store in Harmony, and started using nutrition as a preventative treatment.

As the store grew, Straub connected with Maureen Laniewski, owner of a local pet-sitting business, and hired Rae McStay as a general manager. Two years ago, McStay, who owned an empty food cart, proposed that she, Straub, and Laniewski create a mobile eatery for their four-legged friends. 
click to enlarge COURTESY OF THE ROLLAWAY DOG CAFÉ
Courtesy of the Rollaway Dog Café
The mission of The Rollaway Dog Café is twofold. All three women are dog owners (one of each founder’s pets is featured in the truck’s logo), and call themselves “nutrition enthusiasts,” finding truth in the truck’s motto, “food is medicine.” In addition to fun treats, the founding trio uses their truck as an educational resource.

“There is a rhyme or reason to everything we’re selling on the truck — the benefits it will have for animals,” says Laniewski.

On the cart’s side window, there are flyers to educate dog owners about these unfamiliar, raw superfoods, because just like people, Laniewski explains, dogs “are what they eat.”
click to enlarge COURTESY OF THE ROLLAWAY DOG CAFÉ
Courtesy of the Rollaway Dog Café
The truck’s menu features items not typically available in chain stores. There are pre-packaged goods like raw-coated biscuits, cheese treats, and freeze-dried hearts. A raw food bar includes goat and cow cheese and kefir, fermented fresh cow milk, ice cream that comes in two flavors: pumpkin and turkey.
These raw products come from different companies — Laniewski says that Answers Pet Food, a Pennsylvania-local raw, organic food company, gets the most traffic in and out of the truck — that Straub and McStay work with at the pet nutrition center. Goat’s milk for snow cones comes pre-frozen before thrown in an ice machine; “raw” turkey is already processed and formulated for dogs.

For pups with a sweet tooth, The Rollaway carries pupsicles (available in pumpkin and bone broth flavors) and watermelon slushies. And of course, there’s plenty of dog beer to go around.

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