Stars, stripes and wagging tails on tap at Onset coffee shop

By Andrea Ray | Mar 29, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray Dog Days Coffee Shop is set to open April 3, at 2 W Central Ave in Onset.

A new cafe in Onset has gone to the dogs. Specifically, to the military dogs.

Tracy Knowles, the owner of soon to be opened Dog Days Coffee at 2 W Central Ave., is a veteran who wants to shine a light on dogs who have served. As military veterans, Tracy and her husband Troy (the couple owns the Sinners & Saints Tattoo Shop next door) knew they wanted to give back. While planning out the coffee shop, Tracy realized how many charities were available for human veterans - and how few provided for the dogs who served beside them.

That’s why 10 percent of the coffee shop’s proceeds will go to Mission K9 Rescue, a nonprofit based out of Houston, Texas. The charity's motto is to “rescue, reunite, repair, re-home and rehabilitate” retired military dogs. According to Tracy, military and contract dogs are often left in foreign countries when they’re shipped there, and Mission K9 raises funds to help them return and recover into a normal, retired life.

Each coffee blend is named after a canine war veteran. The dark roast is named after Sgt. Stubby, the most decorated war dog in history, who served fearlessly in World War I, alerting soldiers every time a gas canister exploded near American lines. Jafa, the medium roast, is named after a veteran whose handler was the first female dog handler to lose her life in Operation Enduring Freedom. Duke, who gave his name to the rainforest blend, saved his handler and a squadron of American soldiers from a Vietcong ambush.

Military dogs aren't the only focus, either. Tracy will welcome any pup out on a stroll for a visit,  provided that he or she is well-behaved and calm.

“Bring your best friend in. Why not stop in for a cup of coffee while you’re out on your morning walk?” she said.

Tracy also plans to have dog adoption days at the coffee shop during the summer, in a collaboration with local shelters.

The shop itself is refinished with almost entirely re-purposed furniture - pallet slats line the walls, and the furniture is reclaimed. The grill of a World War II era Jeep hangs proudly on one wall. The only new object in the room is the metal siding on the counter.

Dog Days Coffee will be staffed by military veterans or military families. It’s something Tracy and her husband are adamant about.

“I have a military veteran friend moving out here from Ohio,” Knowles states. “Family members of local veterans will be staffing the counter, especially in the summer. We mean what we say; it’s a 100 percent veteran-run business.”

Opening day at Dog Days Coffee is April 3. The shop's hours are listed as open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m., but Knowles says that the hours may change.

"I want to serve everybody, whether they're leaving work or coming home from work. If that means staying open until 6 p.m., we'll do it."

Tracy Knowles, owner of Dog Days Coffee Shop. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
Construction is nearly finished! (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
(Photo by: Dog Days Coffee)
Comments (6)
Posted by: Chaka | Mar 29, 2017 13:36

I don't have a dog, but I love them dearly and I think your idea is wonderful. I wish more businesses would allow dogs.  I look forward to patronizing your shop and telling half the customers that they are a very good boy.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 29, 2017 15:41

Two new coffee shops opening in Onset just a few weeks apart and basically across the street from one another. Starting a new business can be quite a challenge; I wish the owners of both coffee shops the best.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Mar 30, 2017 11:13

Strange that the fire inspector would allow all of that combustible wood on the wall, seeing no sprinkler system in the photos. Interesting. And yes, two coffee shops in a matter of weeks, right across the street from each other, while may appear to be good for customers, may be not enough for the owners to stay in business. At least they'll know by end of summer.

Posted by: sadie | Mar 31, 2017 12:38

do you have a face book page, someplace with a menu? will it be just coffee or will lunch be served?

Posted by: Andrea Ray | Mar 31, 2017 12:51

Hi Sadie,

The Facebook page for Dog Days Coffee is here.


Posted by: sadie | Apr 01, 2017 07:38

thanks Andrea


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