How Much Is That Pupcake in the Window? Canine Cuisine Gives a Chicago Deli a New Leash on Life
The menu is enough to give anyone pause. But then Famous Fido’s Doggie Deli, catering to Chicago’s canine crowd, is no ordinary arfeteria. Under a red-and-white-striped awning that owner Gloria Lissner hopes will become as ubiquitous as the Golden Arches, pets can appease their appetites with such goodies as succulent tarts (of desiccated liver, beef and chicken), cookies (liver and carob chip) and liver mousse cakes.
Cats can find culinary bliss in Lissner’s kitty boutique, Famous Fonzworth’s Feline Delights, which features catnip and smelt brownies, tuna and catnip casseroles and combination liver and fish dishes shaped like pretzels, birthday cakes and pies. “We do not serve dog and cat food,” sniffs Lissner, 31. “We serve food to dogs and cats.” Well!
The daughter of a Chicago truck driver, Lissner fancies herself a kind of Mother Teresa of the dog and cat set. “I really feel animals are God’s creatures too,” she says. “I just think my purpose is to do something nice for them.” On weekends Fido’s has been known to host up to four animal birthday parties at $8 per guest. Lissner can also arrange for your dog to receive a Fido-Gram or supply a Pup Party takeout kit, which features party hats and gourmet fare such as chicken à la Fido, steak and kidney ragout and dessert cookies.
Lissner, an animal groomer by trade, opened Famous Fido’s a year ago after a customer came in and asked for a birthday cake for his dog. In 1983, she claims, the shop grossed $120,000. Her “nutritionally balanced” cookies, which have no sugar or preservatives, are selling well at pet shops and by mail order in 25 states, and she has four seamstresses working on her designer doggie duds that include such can’t-live-withouts as caps and gowns for obedience-school graduates and matching pet-owner jogging suits. “I’m going to make Famous Fido’s a household name,” vows Lissner. That’s fine with her pampered patrons, it seems, as long as prices don’t go through the woof.