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Black Dog Café, a dog-friendly coffee shop on Lake Ella

Owner of Black Dog Cafe Carla Reid
Posted at 4:02 AM, Jan 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-10 11:05:44-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On the North corner of Lake Ella, you'll find four-legged friends with their human companions enjoying a cup of coffee.

“We’re the longest-lasting coffee shop in town," said Carla Reid, owner of Black Dog Café. "We were here long before Starbucks.”

In 1997, Carla Reid was living in Chicago finishing her Ph.D. when she found out she was pregnant with her son Miles.

A proud Florida State University alumni, Reid said she wanted to come back to Tallahassee to raise her family.

“Lake Ella is the place I use to walk my dog in college, and I thought what a great place to walk your dog and have a cup of coffee," Reid said.

Reid said she named Black Dog Café after her cocker spaniel Faydris.

She asked American Legion to rent their back room, which she envisioned would have a patio deck.

“So they built the deck, but when they did they didn’t put indoors or a ramp," Reid said. "For three months, we had a patio deck that in order to get onto you had to crawl through a window.”

Her dream was more than a building, but an opportunity to bring people together.

“We have a lot of regulars that come," Reid said. "We have people who have watched their children grow up. We have people who I’ve watched their dogs come and go.”

With 23 years of miscellaneous stories hung on the walls, and wagging tails laying on the deck, Black Dog Cafe has become a stable on Lake Ella that is Totally Tallahassee.

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