Every once in a while, something good comes from my TikTok addiction. And recently, a @seen.in.chicago video featuring the Chicago cafe Ludlow Charlingtons sparked an unforgettable experience.

To check out Ludlow Charlingtons for myself, I trekked across Chicago to the Lincoln Park neighborhood (Chicago’s official dogtropolis). Naji Al-Awar opened Ludlow Charlingtons in August of 2021 after he and his wife adopted their dog Cora from the Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control (FCACC), a non-profit that helps animals taken in by Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Ludlow Chalingtons’s supports Chicago’s animal rescues

What’s so special about Ludlow Charlingtons, besides the glorious coffee, pastries, and decor, is that the cafe donates 50 percent of its merchandise profits to FCACC. The support of Ludlow Charlingtons means that dogs who would otherwise be euthanized (solely due to overpopulation at the shelter) have found loving homes. In fact, the cafe regularly hosts adoption events for FCACC dogs. Follow their Instagram for updates so you can meet your next fur-ever friend and/or purchase their animal-rescue story collection along with other merchandise to support beautiful rescue animals like the one painted below. 

Joelle Stephenson

Ludlow Charlingtons serves coffee and very cute pups

The cafe was, in no uncertain terms, tear-jerkingly adorable. When I arrived, a group was leaving with coffees in hand and weiner dogs in tow while a pug-chihuahua mix danced around in happiness near the front door. The whole place was set up like a British pub with portraits of FCACC dogs donning Elizabethan collars and other old-timey garb along the walls. When I stepped up to order, Naji Al-Awar helped me decide on a raspberry beignet and an iced horchata rice milk latte. Edith Piaf’s “Je Ne Regrette Rien” played in the background as I sipped my iced latte from a pub-style jug and dug into my dog bowl pastry. The food-gasmic pastries are made at La Fournette in Old Town and the coffee comes from Counter Culture Coffee Roastery in West Loop (all beans are sustainably sourced).

Joelle Stephenson

Although I’d planned to head out after drinking my coffee, I was so thoroughly enjoying myself that I stuck around for a few hours reading. Without a doubt, this is an iconic Chicago staple and deserves a visit every time you're in town or strolling around the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

So next time you’re thinking of buying your dog some snacks or a new collar, head to Ludlow Charlingtons. Your purchase can give a dog a new future. Plus, whenever you buy merchandise, you get 10 percent off your food and drink order. So, now you can afford your silly little daily treat while supporting rescue animals. 

Thinking about adopting a dog now? Here's what you need to know

One, dogs are a commitment (the entire life of the dog commitment). That means caring for them when they’re gray around the eyes just as lovingly as you did when they were cute little puppies. Second, spay and neuter your pets. You have no idea how many dogs are euthanized every day due to sheer shelter overpopulation, from eight-week-old puppies to dogs that would devote the rest of their life to loving you (shelters across the country are at a breaking point). Spaying and neutering could end this senseless cruelty, and there are organizations in just about every city across the US that offer spaying and neutering services, free of charge.

Third, you can find just about any breed of dog in the shelter. So, please don’t shop. There are pure-bred huskies, golden doodles (hypo-allergenic), sheep dogs, chocolate labs, and just about every breed under the sun available at shelters for as low as $5. Lots of shelters have breed-match programs that make this process even easier. Fourth, although puppies are fun, I think everyone prefers a dog that likes loafing on the sofa for a Project Runway marathon. Please consider middle-aged and older dogs. They can be absolutely lovely companions, especially if you have no interest in dealing with a puppy’s teething and endless destruction.