I like dogs. Scratch that — I love dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, puppers, old guys, purse pooches, tiny yippers in sweaters. On lazy weekend afternoons, my boyfriend and I engage in the age-old practice of sitting in a public place, sipping coffee and pointing at every dog that walks past. "Look at that one," we'll say. "I bet he's a good boy."
Despite this love of dogs, I don't have one, and I likely won't for the foreseeable future — such is the peril of a 30-something renter in a big city. I love taking friends' puppers to dog parks, but I find that showing up at a dog park without one feels a little like sitting childless at a playground and pointing out the children that sprint past. It feels ... weird, voyeuristic in a way. What if that lady with the bichon frise thinks I'm some kind of crazy-eyed dognapper?
Which is why I've fallen in love with the dog-friendly bar and restaurant trend: I get to dog-watch all day while being a paying customer. It scratches the itch, to use dog parlance. Last week, I found perhaps my favorite place to pass the time while dog-adjacent: Turbo Coffee & Kitchen, a new coffee shop at the Shacks at Austin Ranch in The Colony.
If you've yet to experience the Shacks, it's a genius concept, at least for the dog-friendly: several small restaurants — including Ten Ramen, OMG Taco, Grrrowler's Tap Room — overlook a sweet, sprawling dog park where the dog owners of The Colony can sip beer, eat tacos and let their dogs safely do a few laps in a fenced-in space. All of the restaurants share a sprawling dog-friendly back patio.
Turbo, currently in its soft-open phase, is a pretty typical DFW coffee shop, serving up espresso drinks, nitro cold brew and pastries. It's a small shop, but there's Wi-Fi and space to work. There's also a covered back patio overlooking the dog park, and if dogs aren't your bag (you monster), you can watch the sand volleyball games next door at the Beachcomber.
For once, I could, without shame, sit in the shade and sip my coffee while excitedly pointing out various dogs who may or may not already be aware of their general goodness. I'm not sure who to thank for that — the dog-friendly Shacks or the dog owners who know the importance of showing off their pug's new rhinestone hoodie.
Turbo Coffee & Kitchen at the Shacks at Austin Ranch, 5808 Windhaven Parkway, The Colony. Open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.