Barkery: Dogs, kids-- one snack fits all

If you're a regular reader of this delectable column, you know that Dish doesn't make a habit of sniffing out stories about dog food. But this week's a little different, because the food purveyor in question­ Sammy Snacks­ makes treats which man, woman, and child can share with their best four-legged friends.

Or perhaps that should read the other way around, because Sammy Snacks, which opened its first retail store in the newly refurbished Gleason's Building on July 1, makes dog treats that also happen to be people-friendly. We're talking 100 percent natural, human-grade, fully inspected, granola-textured snacks in flavors like CranOat, Carob Chip, Garlic Cheese, and Virginia BBQ. Got you beggin' yet?

Owner-founder Pamela Peterson came up with the idea for Sammy Snacks when she and her husband, Miles, adopted Sam, a black lab puppy, in 1999.

"I was tremendously displeased with the quality of dog treats out there," Peterson told Dish. "No matter what we tempted him with during training, Sam always wanted our chocolate chip cookies."

So, with the guidance of a vet, Peterson came up with a nutritious carob-based treat that she could actually share with Sam. Other flavors followed, and by 2000 she was selling buckets of bones at the City Market and local food stores.

"You wouldn't believe all the things people would tell me they could get their dogs to do for these treats," Peterson says. Sammy Snacks have apparently been a big hit with toddlers since the beginning, too. "My nieces and nephews have grown up on my treats, and I know one woman who gives her kid two bones to get him to take a nap."

With the launch of her supersized new retail store, art gallery, and canine health educational center in Charlottesville's chic new warehouse district, Peterson is also launching Avery Snacks, a new line of "energy biscotti" for dogs and humans, named after her yellow lab. Perfect for long walks, or for lounging on a custom-made (by Alana's) dog bed filled with fragrant cedar chips.

And, lest you think that Sam and Avery subsist on healthy treats alone, you need to know that Sammy Snacks also makes a line of dry dog food. We're talking all human-grade ingredients: New Zealand grass-fed lamb, free range chicken, brown rice, anchovy fish meal, rosemary, flax, and Vitamin E.

"We've cleared up all of Sam and Avery's skin and digestive problems with this all-natural diet," Peterson says. But just in case you're tempted to nibble on some kibble, down, boy! At least for now, this good stuff is reserved for Rover.

As for Sammy's future neighbors, Dish knows of a local baker and City Market staple who's working out the final details on a lease two spaces over. And this time we're talking bakery-­ not barkery.


Franchise burritos filling in

 The elegant Espresso Royale Caffé sign still adorns the facade of the historic Chancellor's drug store building on the Corner, but space has been sadly vacant for months. Summer-session students now crammed into Starbucks don't need a refresher, but for those who might: The Michigan-based company decided to close its Corner café/bar/pizzeria back in April, because of slow morning sales. Dish found out from real estate agent and manager Joe Aust that as of July 1, a new tenant holds the keys to this potentially profitable property.

"As soon as we were able to fill the space, we were happy to let ERC out of their lease," Aust tells Dish.

Aust confirmed our suspicion that Qdoba Mexican Grill, will soon be filling the Corner void. Pronounced cue-DOH-ba, this growing franchise offers house-made guacamole, signature burritos with cilantro-lime rice (Poblano Pesto, Chicken Molé, Grilled Vegetable), tacos, and taco salads. We'll keep you posted as the spicy details develop.