Brunch is always a good idea — now your pet can enjoy it too at Racine’s Uptown | Local News
ROOT—Sit down. To stay. Brunch!
Uptown Racine is home to a new “restaurant” for humans and their pets, Unleashed Uptown.
The vision, according to business partners and co-owners Kristina Campbell and Joanna Luebke, is that customers can bring their pets and share brunch together at 1501 Washington Ave.
With separate meals, of course.
For now, Unleashed is at The Branch at 1501, another of Campbell and Luebke’s businesses down the hall.
Customers order their pet’s treats online and pick them up at the Collective Roots drive-thru window – the same site where Esperanza Coffee Collective and Dragon Pit BBQ are hosted.
In the near future, the couple would like to have their own physical location in Uptown to fulfill their vision of sharing an adorable meal with a four-legged friend. In the meantime, they bake their treats and test the waters at The Branch.
People also read…
The idea for the pet brunch came from Campbell’s son; he wanted to start a dog treat business and donate the proceeds to local humanitarian societies. He is obsessed with dogs, she said.
“He was really excited about it,” Campbell said.
“With all of our businesses, we’re always trying to do something with our kids,” Luebke said, sitting alongside Campbell at Rooted, 1436 Washington Ave., a plant store that’s another one of their business ventures.
Luebke added: “So literally like if (Kristina’s) daughter could run this plant shop, my son, they could. And they are 6 years old.
The company offers a handful of treats for brunch, including maple bacon pancakes topped with peaches; pumpkin and blueberry sausage waffles; and a Peanut Butter Donut with Cinnamon Banana Frosting.
Luebke and Campbell cook the treats with all natural ingredients and no added sugars to minimize sugar rushes that lead to what pet owners know as “zoomies.”
“Because that would be a terrible business model, to have all your dogs sugary, and they’re all gaining weight and unhealthy,” Luebke said with a laugh.
When picked up, the treats are frozen, which is an added bonus so animals don’t crush them right away. But they can also be popped in the toaster, Campbell said.
“Like a human waffle,” she added.
Which begged the question: Are the treats also safe for humans?
“Yeah,” Campbell said. “Everything is made with natural ingredients. Maybe it doesn’t taste good.
Unleashed will fulfill Campbell’s son’s wish to donate money to animal shelters and organizations. The co-owners plan to work with local organizations to invite children and teens with special needs to help make and serve pet treats for the restaurant when it opens.
“If we could help children or young adults with special needs find employment, that would be great. And cooking and selling is something they can do,” Luebke said.
Campbell’s daughter, who has special needs, expressed her enthusiasm for the business early on as the couple whipped up different recipes. “Every day she asked to come and help us,” Luebke said.
Samples of Unleashed treats are handed out at the Collective Roots drive-thru. Since opening, the co-owners have said they have had a positive response.
” It was wonderful. People are so excited,” Luebke said. “First they’re like, ‘A dog brunch?’ Then, the second they figured it out, it was nothing but love.
The couple plans to hold pop-up events with Unleashed this summer. Until then, they aim to raise awareness of their new venture and remain dedicated to revitalizing Uptown.
Breathing life into Uptown is something Campbell and Luebke have talked about before, like with Rooted.
“We hope people will come and enjoy what we bring to (Uptown),” Campbell said. “I don’t know if there are places — maybe in California — that do (a pet brunch). But we just like to offer unique things and give people an experience.