Local Flavor: Woof! Lunch with the ‘kids' at Doodle Drive-in is exhausting and yummy

I almost said those words that parents say they will never utter.

"Don't make me stop this car and come back there."


With a firm grip on the steering wheel, I bit my tongue and kept a keen eye on the shenanigans going on with the kids in the back seat.

They were excited. We were taking them out to lunch.

"Bailey. Get your head back inside of this car," I had to yell more than once.

And his sibling Quinn wasn't much better.

He was jumping from seat to seat, licking everything inside my previously pristine Honda.

And the sounds coming from the back seat were just plain gross.

There were plenty of burps and I'm not quite sure what else.

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The actual drive to the Doodle Drive-in in Cuyahoga Falls from our house in Medina probably wasn't more than a half-hour, but it seemed like an eternity.

But truth be told, this trip wasn't so much about me.

It was really for those kids in the back seat of the car.

They go on plenty of walks around our neighborhood, but we don't take them out in public much.

We still can't show our faces in PetSmart after the unfortunate knocked-over display, thanks to Bailey, and the other unfortunate "incident" that involved Quinn and lots of paper towels and even a mop.

These Webbheads simply lack social boundaries and graces.

And they lick a lot and sometimes burp loudly.

With this in mind, I decided to bring them out to a late lunch at the Doodle Drive-in when I hoped it wouldn't be as busy and we could avoid the inevitable shouts of "Bailey, don't lick that!" and "Quinn, stop!"

And the ensuing obvious lie to strangers that "I don't know why they are behaving like this. They never do this at home."

As a further insurance policy, I brought along our resident dog-whisperer daughter (who walks on two legs instead of four) Teagan.

Unlike me, she speaks Bailey and Quinn. And unlike me, they usually listen to her.

At Doodle Drive-in, dogs and their owners can either dine in their cars or outside in the dog park out back at West Steels Corners Road and Wyoga Lake Road.

When we arrived, the dog park was empty, aside from a very well-mannered pooch who had just finished a leisurely lunch and was politely using a napkin to wipe away any crumbs from his lips and paws.

His parents offered an apology that they were just leaving and wouldn't be dining with us.

Our dogs were leaping four paws off the ground in every direction while their well-mannered pooch couldn't care less.

I just nodded as I held a death grip on Bailey's leash as she made a beeline for the trash can to eat the other dog's discarded napkin.

Doodle Drive-in menu

Aside from corralling Bailey and Quinn, the hardest choice was deciding what to order for them — not me — from the menu.

The dog-friendly menu includes a wide range of offerings.

The Doodle chips ($4.50), made with peanut butter, eggs and flour, sounded intriguing.

The Borzoi Bowl ($5) of carrots, celery, romaine lettuce, tomato over a hard egg also looked yummy for man or beast.

Bailey was really ready to just settle on the discarded napkin when we realized Quinn had slipped away.

Let's just say what all transpired next involved a Hollywood-worthy chase, several plastic bags, multiple yells of "Quinn, stop!" and our heads on swivel with our prepared speech of "I don't know why they are behaving like this. They never do this at home," should anyone be watching.

By the time we corralled Quinn, Bailey had already consumed the discarded napkin.

After listening to the disturbing series of noises coming from the back seat on the way to lunch, we decided to opt for the most gentle tummy-wise food for each of them.

We thought the Chow-Chow ($5), an unseasoned meatball with cheddar cheese on a bun, would pair nicely with the napkin Bailey had already eaten.

For Quinn, who was now very content after the "incident," it was a bit trickier.

The poor fella has a few missing teeth so the Hangry Husky ($5) of diced chicken breast with arugula sounded like a gentle choice.

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I'm an old soul so I ordered the single patty melt ($9.25) that comes toasted with swiss cheese and diced onion.

Teagan is a bit more highbrow.

She ordered the falafel stuffed pita ($8.25) that consisted of a house-made falafel with a pickled shallot and radish, arugula and tahini dressing served in a warm pita.

Teagan and I decided to share a side to go with our sandwiches.

Since Bailey already sampled the discarded napkin side, we were torn between the hand-dipped, beer-battered onion rings ($3.25) or the salt potatoes.

We opted for the salt potatoes and beer cheese ($3.25), which came with more than enough salt boiled potatoes tossed in melted butter to share. It is served with a warm cheese that uses local favorite Missing Mountain beer.

You order your food at the counter and you get a text when your meal is ready.

The dogs wandered around a bit and stared at the rocks with bubbling water while our lunch was prepared.

Bailey hunted for more napkins while Quinn once again acted as if the "incident" had never transpired.

Once the order was ready, I was the retriever in the family as we could never trust Bailey to do it and poor Quinn could never lift the food.

Time for lunch

I barely sat Bailey's plate of Chow-Chow down down and uttered the word "wait." Then it was gone.

Toothless Quinn on the other hand is an entirely different story.

He's a slow eater.

He relishes each tiny bite.

Sometimes he will take a single piece of food to another room where he will roll around and play with it for hours.

All to the dismay of Bailey who after eating her dinner in two bites just has to watch.

Quinn nosed around the dish and slowly nibbled.

Bailey, on the other hand, was left to lick away every tiny morsel of cheese left in her paper container.

My patty melt was good and buttery and had a great taste.

Teagan's falafel was fresh and yummy, too.

Our dogs ate everything that appealed to them.

Bailey ate all of her meatballs and bun and even the discarded napkin.

Quinn ate all of his chicken.

But just like a kid, he miraculously never touched or disturbed a single piece of arugula.

Even Bailey refused to eat Quinn's arugula scraps.

Sheesh. Kids.

All in all, our visit to the Doodle was a fun outing. Our total bill came to $41.68, including tax and tip.

We promise to come back to try out the ice cream treats for humans and dogs as long as no one mentions the unfortunate "incident" ever again.

Craig Webb, who will be cleaning out hair from his Honda for 10 dog years, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Local Flavor: Lunch with "kids" at the Doodle Drive-in is an adventure