Restaurant for dogs opens in Kinston

His, hers fire hydrants provided for canines

The efforts to revitalize downtown Kinston continue with the opening of a new restaurant designed for dogs.

“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” said Belly Rub Cafe’ owner/operator Elliot Gould. “The whole world is going to the dogs, so I figure they needed their own restaurant.”

Gould, 44, studied veterinary medicine at N.C. State yet could never fully commit to becoming a veterinarian.

“To be honest, I really don’t like cats,” Gould said. “As it turns out, lots of people bring their cats to the vet. I interned at a vet’s office in Zebulon for a few months, and it was every day with the cats. I used to volunteer to assist in birthing calves or treating boa constrictors for STDs just to get away from that office full of smug, repugnant cats.”

Gould’s dislike of cats eventually led to a diagnosis of ailurophobia — an irrational fear of cats.

“The ailurophobia eventually derailed my career as a veterinarian,” Gould said. “I ended up in the food service industry, managing a string of Quincy’s Steakhouses throughout the Carolinas. Quincy’s CEO Jack Klugman and I had a good working relationship for many years — although he was a bit of a slob.”

Even though the restaurant business was good to him, Gould still had an itch to work with animals. After watching a “Lassie” marathon on Nick-At-Nite a few years ago, Gould got the idea to create a restaurant that would cater to dogs.

“We’ve got some great restaurants in Kinston right now, and a lot of the people frequenting those establishments are dog owners,” Gould said. “The idea behind the Belly Rub Cafe’ is simple: While you’re enjoying a fine meal at a great Kinston restaurant, drop off your dog with us so he or she can do the same.”

The Belly Rub Cafe’ menu boasts exotic fare such as a bacon bar, peanut butter biscuits, beef stew and Alpo pate’, all washed down with fresh spring water served in miniature replicas of toilet bowls. When nature calls, his and her fire hydrants are available in front of the restaurant.  Televisions in every corner of the restaurant will feature movies by Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Lassie and Sarah Jessica Parker on a continuous loop.


“Our bar is stocked with dozens of imported K-9 beers, including Chihuahua, Bulldog and Vienna Dog,” Gould said. “We’ve even got Amorous Doberman and Mailman’s Tears on tap.”

The Belly Rub Cafe’ has a strict no-licking policy, although there is a licking area provided on an adjacent patio.

Jon Dawson’s books available through the “BOOKS” link at the top of the page or Contact Jon at

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