A mural of the owner’s family adorns the wall of Logan Square’s newest pet-friendly addition: Temple of the Dog and Meow Lounge (2344 N. Milwaukee Avenue).
Tara Evangelist, along with dogs Mickey (black lab) and Hershey (chocolate cocker spaniel) and cats Sushi and Pussycat accompany Evangelist and her husband on the wall. The mural mirrors the tattoo on her left forearm.
Evangelist, a board-certified dog groomer, opened the full-service, trendy grooming salon this past month, after a difficult search in which she almost gave up.
“I couldn’t find a space to rent and I’d pretty much given up,” explains Evangelist. “Then one day I was walking home and saw a rent sign on this building. I had the keys four days later.”
Once the space was accounted for, the rest came together quickly. The shop was opened two and a half weeks later.
After being laid off from her job in education two years ago, Evangelist found herself with an opportunity to explore a new career. She graduated from Dog Gone Rite Grooming Academy after six months and then worked at a couple different salons to gain experience. It was always her intention to open her own salon.
Evangelist is a resident of Logan Square and she knew the neighborhood would be a great location for a grooming salon. The boulevards attract many dog lovers to the neighborhood.
The salon’s interior looks more like someone’s living room than a pet groomer. The exposed brick, rugs and comfy window seating area provide a relaxed environmental for pets and their owners.
The name for the salon can be attributed to a road trip Evangelist took with her husband. They were listening to a cassette tape of the album “Temple of the Dog,” which was a collaboration between Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Eddie Vedder in the early ’90s. They thought the name would be perfect for a grooming salon and because they didn’t want cats to be excluded, they added “Meow Lounge” onto the name.
Evangelist embraces and practices gentle grooming methods and won’t force animals to do things they don’t want to do. She uses positive reinforcement methods with treats and vocal encouragement to help pets relax while she’s grooming them.
The shop uses and sells only all-natural bathing and grooming products. She only sells food she feeds her own animals (quality, all-natural). Eco-friendly toys made by local artists and businesses are also for sale.
Open six days a week, the salon offers late evening week-day hours, as well as pick-up and drop-off services for busy pet-owners. First-time customers receive a 10% discount on all grooming services.