San Diego barks for ‘doggie’ food truck

Posted: July 18th, 2014 | News, Pets, Top Story | No Comments

Monica Medina | Uptown News

Cats may be popular on the Internet, but when it comes to what really matters to pets — treats galore — it’s all for the dogs.

That’s because Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck, the first national food truck for dogs, came to San Diego last week, barking up a good time for the canine set in Balboa Park, Ocean Beach and Clairemont and then culminating with a fetching appearance Saturday at the Sixth Annual Doggie Street Festival at Liberty Station.

Dog owners and their furry companions line up for treats at Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck as it rolled through San Diego in early July. (Photo by Monica Medina)

Dog owners and their furry companions line up for treats at Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck as it rolled through San Diego in early July. (Photo by Monica Medina)

Milo’s Kitchen is a line of chicken and beef treats, started three years ago by Big Heart Pet Brands. Their philosophy can be boiled down to four words: Dogs are people, too.

But if you ask any dog owner — or parent, as the Milo’s Kitchen Truck staff says — they’ll undoubtedly agree. Which begs the question: If food trucks are good for us, wouldn’t dogs get a kick out of them, too? Milo’s Kitchen says the answer is a tail-wagging yes.

“We really wanted to deliver an experience that you can have as a whole family,” explained Connie Sintuvat, senior associate brand manager for Milo’s Kitchen. “That’s why we have the treat truck out today.”

Capitalizing on the ever-increasing popularity of food trucks, Milo’s Kitchen has launched a summer tour, which began late June in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered, before making its way down to Southern California. Uptown News caught up with the truck during its last stop in America’s Finest City to see if it met expectations, and just to be sure it did, this reporter brought along two rather finicky dogs with surprising results.

“We really believe that dogs are members of the family,” said Connie Sintuvat, a representative of Big Heart Pet Brand and a dog parent herself. “And food trucks are such a big trend, from the West Coast to the East Coast. If we enjoy food trucks ourselves, why shouldn’t dogs enjoy them, too? Everything from going up to the window where you place your order, and having your pup’s name called when their order is ready, followed by, ‘Order up!’ This way, they can experience the same things that we do.”

But that’s not all that’s available at the treat truck.

“We have lots of things besides treats,” Sintuvat noted. “You can take a family photo or a ‘selfie’ for your dog, and the lounge is actually for you and your dog to relax. We have dog toys to play with as well, and we encourage people not to just get their treats and run, but to hang out and relax.”

It all seemed comfy — a dog’s paradise to be sure — but on this blazing hot day the only thing that seemed to be missing was some shade. Thankfully, a quick tour inside the truck, which was designed to look like a homey kitchen — an oft-loved rooms by dogs — revealed a full-sized fridge stocked with bottled water suitable for pet parents, complimented by bowls of water on the floor for their animal cohorts.

The 12-state cross-country tour will wind up in New York City after Labor Day. A complete schedule can be found on its website, San Diego, like all the other stops on the tour, was chosen for its dog-friendly atmosphere.

“San Diegans love their dogs and it was definitely a city we had to stop by,” Sintuvat said. “If the summer goes really well, we’re looking to return later in the year or next summer.”

Elena Martinez, the tour’s manager, agreed.

Milo’s Kitchen tour manager Elena Martinez and her dog Bella (Photo by Monica Medina)

Milo’s Kitchen tour manager Elena Martinez and her dog Bella (Photo by Monica Medina)

“We’ve had a great response,” she said. “A lot of people are very excited. We’re giving back to the community, and not only is it for the dogs, it’s for people to meet and interact with each other and with their dogs. We did Ocean Beach yesterday. It was amazing. Balboa Park, too. We pop up at dog parks and blast it out on Twitter (@MilosKitchen). I’m a pet parent myself which is really cool, so we have two traveling Chihuahuas, Bella and Turbo. They’re happy to be here too. It’s a great experience!”

Looking around at all the tail-wagging pups and contented owners waiting in line, one can only surmise this business is definitely on to something. Even the canine connoisseur taste-testers brought along for this escapade enjoyed the nibbles, and they’re generally not keen on trying new treats.

On the other hand, they’re obsessed with tennis balls, yet they weren’t interested in the ones available here. Not the real McCoy, perhaps? As for lounging around, the cushiony couch was inviting enough, but the sunny day soon had the critters panting for shade.

For those who won’t be able to wait for the Milo Kitchen Treat Truck to return, there’s another dog truck that’s based right here in San Diego. It’s called Fido to Go, and according to its website, it serves “hand crafted gluten-free canine cookies and dog ice creams.” But, like any good food truck, you have to follow it on Twitter (@fidotogoSD) to know where it’ll be next.

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