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The cafe that’s gone to the dogs

Chew Chew caters to furry, four-legged patrons only, but the new Puppy Tails cafe will welcome humans too.

Naoko Okamoto came to Australia over 10 years ago with the Japanese company for whom she was working. She loved the country so much she wanted to stay but she needed to find a new source of income. Her English was not very good at the time, so she considered her options.

“I love cooking, I love dogs, so…”

So, she started a restaurant for pets, of course!

“It was a big risk because at that time the pet food restaurant was nowhere,” says Naoko.

Chew Chew Pet Restaurant at Wollstonecraft is still quite unique and certainly was when it first opened - Naoko had to jump through hoops to get approval. Regulations regarding food preparation in Australia strictly forbid food for humans and food for animals being prepared in the same space, so Chew Chew is for dogs only. It’s ironic because the quality of the ingredients used by Naoko surpasses those used by some outlets catering to humans.

“Organic chicken, organic lamb. It’s all organic. And fresh salmon from the fish market,” Naoko says.

The protein is combined with vegetables to create very healthy, satisfying meals that can be eaten on premises or taken home. Naoko has certification in nutrition and her mother is also a nutritionist so she knows exactly what to put in these doggie dishes.

Some customers consider a Chew Chew meal a treat for their fur-babies, but for others whose dogs have an illness or condition, it is essential eating.

Chew Chew also hosts doggie parties.

Naoko is very excited about the pending opening of her new kiosk style doggie cafe in Blackman Park. Puppy Tails will serve doggie beverages and pre-prepared meals from Chew Chew, but, more importantly, will also serve coffee for humans.

“Now we have the dog cafe with humans too. That is really happy for me!” says Naoko, who is also thrilled about the location.

“It’s very beautiful; dog friendly.”

On weekdays, dogs can run around off-leash.

So, does Naoko herself have a dog?

“Of course! It’s a cavalier cross Shih Tzu. 15 years old.”

And his name?



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