Dogs find fame - and treats - at Faribault restaurant

For many people, grabbing a bite to eat at a fast food restaurant is a pretty ordinary task. But, at one drive-thru south of the metro, pets have become top dog.

At the A&W in Faribault, there are all kinds of dogs - from hot dogs, to corn dogs, to cheesy Coney hot dogs. But, recently a different kind of pooch has been popular at the old school family restaurant.

Business began booming at the drive-thru during the pandemic, and a lot of customers bring their canine companions along for the ride. So, the restaurant gave out free dog treats and sold "pup cups" of ice cream with Milk Bones in them.

Grace Peach then takes pictures of their furry friends and posts them around the drive-thru window.

"The reaction is funny. We have so many people who will point them out and laugh when they are sitting in drive-thru. It's pure joy to see their reactions," she said.

So far, Peach and her co-workers have taken more than 300 snapshots of dogs getting a taste of fast food.

Their brushes with the pup-arazzi lift the spirits of customers and employees alike.

"Rudy the bear is officially the A&W mascot, but the dogs and the puppies have been a big draw for all the employees to interact with and brighten their day," said owner Dan Ballstadt.

Peach heads to college next week, so she'll have to hand off her pet project, but she plans to be back next summer to throw her favorite customers another bone.

"I love it. I'm so glad I started it. It makes me so happy to see. If I'm having a bad day, it just makes it so much better and it makes me smile," Peach said.