At a recent outing with some locals, I mentioned I was writing an article about the latest Barnaby’s Cafe location, which opened this summer in the Spring Branch Management District.

“Oh, they have the good fries there,” a woman said.

“I love that one salad,” chimed in another woman. “What is it called?”

Her friend: “Petaluma Salad!”

The egg salad sandwich with bacon is not to be missed, said a third member of the group.

“But those pork chops,” someone said, and everyone sighed longingly.

And then the grand finale comment:

“I like to take their chocolate cake home and put it in the refrigerator overnight and the next day enjoy it with a big glass of milk in the bath.”

That’s the Chocolate Addiction Cake she was referring to — along with perhaps too much information.

Clearly, Barnaby’s Cafe — a Houston staple since 1992 — has a solid following. And the newest Spring Branch location at 8155 Long Point Rd. is capitalizing on it.

On a recent steamy Sunday afternoon, every table in the dining room was full, with more people waiting to be seated. A few even braved the patio, despite the heat. A couple of dogs slurped from water bowls as their owners waited to order lunch.

The first Barnaby’s opened in Montrose in 1992 with the name chosen in memory of the owner’s childhood English sheepdog. Black paw prints and doggy biscuits are part of the signage and decorations, even at the newest location, leading some to wonder — including a member of my family — if it’s a cafe for dogs.

Well, yes, it is, actually. And humans are allowed, too.

The pet-friendly cafe has a menu section devoted to your favorite pooch, who can choose from ground beef, sliced chicken or scrambled egg over rice. There is even a doggy ice cream for dessert.

Your fluffy friend must remain on the patio, where cooler temps would be appreciated and are hopefully coming soon (please), but fans keep the air moving for now.

In 1999, the Houston Press reported on the third location of Barnaby’s opening on South Shepherd. At the time, owner Jeff Gail said “definitely not” when asked if a fourth was coming. “Three is enough,” he was quoted as saying.

Well, the Spring Branch location is the ninth for the local chain.

The restaurants feature rainbow images that reflect support for the LGBTQ community; the original location has been named Best Gay-Friendly Restaurant by the Houston Press. The same publication named Barnaby’s Pesto Chicken Salad as “Houston’s Best Sandwich.”

Katherine Douglass, owner of TCP Custom Outdoor Living, with offices in the Spring Branch District, has been a repeat customer of Barnaby’s Cafe. Douglass has a pup and three grandkids.

“Love the salads and the burgers and that it is dog-friendly and kid-friendly,” Douglass said. “They have huge portions as well.”

On a recent visit, I brought my daughters — one human and one canine — for brunch, where human daughter ordered what she orders everywhere — queso and chips. Under her super official ranking system, Barnaby’s queso ranked #4. Not too bad considering the high number of contenders.

Canine daughter loved her sliced chicken. She wasn’t too keen on the rice but perhaps she is trying to watch her carbs.

I am not watching my carbs. I went for the French Dip. While a reviewer on Trip Advisor called it the “worst French Dip ever,” another site listed it as one of the best French Dips in town. I decided to take my chances.

I’m glad I did.

The medium-rare sliced London broil served on a toasted sweet sourdough hoagie bun with a side of horseradish sauce and au jus made for a tasty lunch with leftovers for the next day.

It also came with a side of the good fries which, in fact, were good.

Barnaby’s Cafe Spring Branch
8155 Long Point Rd.

— by Dorothy Puch Lillig