Whitley Bay cafe plans more for canine community

New owners of a canine cafe are planning on offering a pedigree service for their animal and human customers.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 8:05 am
The Barking Bistro's owners Graham Siddle and Lynda Maitland with Paddy.

The Barking Bistro, which opened in Whitley Bay in 2017, has been bought by dog lovers Graham Siddle and Lynda Maitland who plan to establish the café as a centre for the coast’s canine community.

Their free puppy socialisation sessions – which help young dogs get used to other puppies and a different surroundings – are over-subscribed and the cafe is available for dogs’ birthday parties.

Pets are treated to homemade liver cakes, cheesy snacks, peanut butter and bacon biscuit bones while harnesses, leads and toys are available for owners to buy.

Human customers – with or without dogs – can enjoy coffee, freshly made cakes, toasties, jacket potatoes and homemade soup.

Graham, who took early retirement after working for the NHS for 30 years, said: “I wanted to set up my own business and had always fancied a coffee shop.

“I’ve had dogs all my life so when this came up for sale it was too good to miss.”

His partner Lynda has a job with the Changing Lives charity and will continue to lead one of its projects supporting homeless people, working at the bistro on weekends.

Graham said: “The idea for the café was brilliant and there was no point in changing things for the sake of it, but we want it to develop and grow. One of the things I love is that it’s a great way for people to meet. It’s different from other places. Here people tend to talk to other people who have dogs.

“We get older people who come in just to meet dogs or people who want a bit of company and a chat, and they’re very welcome. We’ve had a lady who was very ill who wanted to come in to see the dogs.”

Graham added: “The Barking Bistro also helps customers interact with dogs. One puppy owner brought his young son with him to a puppy socialisation class. The boy was nervous about other dogs after a bad experience, but the session helped him overcome his fears.”

The Barking Bistro, 102 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, is open six days a week from 9.30am to 4.30pm. It is closed on Wednesdays.