Cusine for canines
Visit Bark Street Bakery at the weekly Marco farmers market, and you might just wish you were a hound yourself. The munchies are just plain mouth-watering, whether you're two-legged or four.
Amongst a host of doggy treats, the bakery offers tempting chews made from yak milk, peanut "mutter" biscuits, bison and elk bites and three-foot, dried sausage sticks.
Appetizing? Indeed, says bakery owner Wayne Matonak, but he emphasizes that what you buy at his stall is essentially good for dogs.
In other words, he isn't the canine equivalent of your typical fast-food joint.
"We get a lot of repeat customers," says Matonak, who launched the business 10 years ago after first baking up a bunch of mutter biscuits and finding a market for them. "The dogs bring their owners back."
In addition to his own recipes, which also include turkey liver and cranberry bites (which suit older dogs or dogs with poor teeth), Matonak picks up supplies from assorted manufacturers throughout the United States.
The menu also includes bully sticks, which Matonak says are preferable to rawhide because they chew long and hard like rawhide, but don't sit in the animals' stomachs.
Marco dog owner Sandy Hansen this past week shopped for her 6-month-old Shih Tzu.
"I love natural food (for the pet)," Hansen said, "with no fillers and additives."
Matonak and his wife Joanne originally started the business in Tampa, but now live in North Fort Myers. From there, they ply the Marco market, as well as Sanibel Island and two in Cape Coral.
Naturally, Matonak is a dog lover and owner himself. His boxer, he says, is partial to dried liver as well as the in-house peanut mutter treats.