Also included in the story is a rundown of what establishments are offering during closure.
Minnesota’s bar and restaurants, among other establishments like gyms/fitness centers, theaters, museums, hair and nail salons, spas and community clubs, were ordered to close by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) for at least ten days and some Crookston businesses are fighting back with action plans of their own to combat the temporary closure.
The Irishman’s Shanty, whose “bread-and-butter” is the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, tried to keep a positive attitude as they readied the corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew Tuesday, and prepared for the early crowd before having to shut their doors just as a typical happy hour was to begin. Shanty owner Paul Gregg told the Times they, of course, were complying with the directive and want people to stay safe as he realizes it’s better to err on the side of caution.
“We’ve made a lot of tough calls and texts to staff,” Gregg explained. “We will keep as many employees as possible during this fluid ongoing situation at least until March 27 though I predict it will go longer.”
“The Irishman’s Shanty will get through this, we will survive,” he added. “We will be open for take-out (food orders) and in our off-sale.”
Gregg continued saying he knows it was a “tough call” for the state to make and that they made the right call when they went to no smoking in bars and restaurants in 2007.
“If this is anywhere at all relatable to that situation, it’s about public health and it’s more serious, so level that it’s everybody,” he stated. “I predict that other states will follow, flatten out the curve. It’s best to do this now as we don’t want to be three weeks down the road and wish we did something more.”
About the closure happening on St. Patrick’s Day, Gregg was obvious in his comments saying the holiday is their “biggest day” and it’s a “huge hit” to them.
“This will be a St. Patrick’s Day to remember for all the wrong reasons.”
Shanty hours and operations:
• Off-Sale open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Kitchen open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. for take-out only
• Weekly specials will follow normal schedule, full menu available for take-out only
• Phone number: (218) 281-5512
• Website: www.irishmansshanty.com
DRAFT’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL
Draft’s owners, Brent and Jasmine Melsa, are rolling with the punches, too, by switching to curbside to-go orders only and will serve their full menu to start, but it will be subject to change based on the availability of ingredients and staffing.
“We will be operating with a limited crew as we figure out our community needs, so please support us in this difficult transition,” the Melsas posted on Facebook. “We want to continue to serve this community that has supported us for the last six-and-a-half years.”
“We will continue with our high level of cleanliness and sanitation, and we look forward to seeing you all face-to-face again soon!” they added. “Until then stay healthy!”
Another thing the Melsas told the Times was that their off-sale will still be open, but they will have to bring that out to the cars.
Drafts hours and operations:
• Kitchen open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. for curbside to-go only
• Off-Sale open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for curbside to-go only
• Watch their Facebook page for special menus
• Phone number: (218) 281-1183
• Website: www.draftssportsbar.com
CROOKSTON INN/SCOBEY’S PUB & GRUB
Scobey’s Pub & Grub, which just opened the end of February at the newly-owned/operated Crookston Inn under Laurie and Craig Stahlecker, will also be moving to curbside pick-up food orders to go along with the state mandate. Laurie told the Times that she’s currently working with their point-of-sale system managers to get online ordering up and running, and they’ll let their customers know when that’s ready.
“Thursday we will also be doing an amazing special on our burgers since we cannot do our famous build-your-own-burger bar,” Stahlecker noted.
She added that their new menus are on their website so customers have an idea of the items available.
Scobey’s hours and operations:
• Kitchen open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for curbside pick-up orders only
• Watch their Facebook page for specials
• Phone number: (218) 470-1000
• Website: www.crookstoninn.com
IC MUGGS AND MUGOO’S PIZZA
At IC Muggs and Mugoo’s Pizza, owner Mike Paul says “You’ve got to go with safety first, I suppose. Better safe than sorry” when asked for his level of understanding and/or frustration in regard to the statewide shutdown of bars and restaurants. But in the next breath he adds that this far north in Minnesota and this far away from the much more densely populated Twin Cities metro area, he thinks the mandatory closure is “probably not” necessary.
Paul is actually using the time his business is closed to accelerate the timeline on significant remodeling that he was planning to have done this summer. “We’re replacing the bar,” he said. “We were going to do it this summer, but now we’re speeding it up a little bit.”
Paul says he met with his staff and gave them the option of getting some hours during the shutdown by doing some “deep cleaning” in the bar and restaurant.
As far as food pick-up service and deliveries, Paul said Mugoo’s doesn’t currently deliver, but he’s planning to talk to the Mugoo’s staff to see if they are interested in delivering pizza and other menu items to customers. There are no immediate plans to offer food pick-up service, he added, but that could change.
Paul adds that his adjacent business, Best Buy Liquor, is not impacted by the statewide mandatory closure of bars and restaurants.
Muggs and Mugoo’s info:
• Best Buy Liquor will remain open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• Stay tuned for more information regarding food orders
• Phone number: (218) 281-3130
• Website: www.icmuggs.com
CROOKS CLUB & BOTTLE SHOP
Downtown, at Crooks Club & Bottle Shop, owner Dave Thompson, who also owns The Wheel Bar in Middle River, strikes a more frustrated tone than Paul. Basically, his beef with the shutdown lies in its selective nature that he says is discriminatory.
“I think if it’s a good idea for bars and restaurants, then it’s probably even an as good or better idea for the factories around here,” Thompson tells the Times. “I worked at Polaris for 21 years, side-by-side with people on the assembly line. DigiKey has 3,000 people in their building. There are lots of factories with a lot of people a lot closer than the half-dozen people I have sitting at my bar during the day.
“This form of picking and choosing, this discrimination, it’s not right,” he adds.
The mandatory shutdown period is for 10 days, but Thompson isn’t betting all his chips on reopening Crooks Club or The Wheel on March 27. “I’m afraid 10 days will go to 20 days, and then 20 days will go to 30 days,” he said.
“You’re basically talking about no social gatherings of any size,” Thompson continued. “But when the governor tells the whole state to shut down, then we’re getting somewhere. That makes way more sense to me than (keeping open) all of these congested factories that I know exist down here.”
Thompson also points out that the off-sale portion of his business remains open.
Crooks Club info:
• Bottle Shop will remain open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• Phone number: (218) 281-5503
RBJs Restaurant is another affected Crookston restaurant and they’ll be following suit by providing carry-out services to all and delivery services to businesses.
“As mandated by the state of Minnesota, we will not be providing dine-in services until further notice, however, that won’t be stopping us from giving you a smile through the phone, or a friendly wave as you drive off with your yummy to-go order,” they posted on Facebook. “We’ve had your back for the past 39 years and we won’t stop now.”
“We want to thank you all for your continued support as we navigate these times of uncertainty,” they added.
RBJs hours and operations:
• Kitchen open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for carry-out to all or delivery to businesses only
• Phone number: (218) 281-3636
• Website: www.rbjsrestaurant.com
HAPPY JOE’S PIZZA & ICE CREAM
Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream of Crookston has been making pizzas for 47 years and they’ll continue to do so through this pandemic, they announced on social media. They’ll be available for delivery and pick-up orders, including their 20 flavors of ice cream, sundaes, shakes, malts and cones, and they will be accommodating to special instructions for their drivers to leave delivery orders of food at a customers door when paid by a credit card.
They’re also offering an online coupon code 278FB for customers to receive a free small order of cheese, pizza or cinnamon dessert pizza with the purchase of a large specialty pizza.
“Thank you Crookston for your continued support of our local businesses, especially at this tough time,” they posted.
Happy Joe’s hours and operations:
• Kitchen open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for carry-out or delivery only
• Watch for specials on Facebook
• Phone number: (218) 281-5141
• Website: www.happyjoes.com
HONG’S CHINESE RESTAURANT
Hong’s of Crookston will be offering delivery and take-out services through March 27 following the state mandate. They will be offering some special packages every day during the dining room closure and ask customers to follow their Facebook page.
“Be noted, any take-out we process on our second door only,” Hong’s posted on social media. “Thank you for your support and understanding. We hope you and your family all good health.”
Hong’s hours and operations:
• Kitchen open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for take-out and delivery only
• Watch for specials on Facebook
• Phone number: (218) 281-3318
Crookston’s DaRoo’s Pizza downtown will be offering carry-out and free delivery for their customers during the mandate. They said they would be happy to carry take-out orders to their customer’s cars if that’s what is preferred.
“We are taking every precaution with excessive hand washing and gloves, and only allowing healthy employees to work,” they wrote on Facebook. “This is going to be a trying time for small businesses as well as many people in the community that work paycheck-to-paycheck, and may not be able to work.”
“We would like to offer large for medium price as well as free delivery to our customers during this time,” they added. “Hopefully we can work together to get through this hard time. Prayers to everyone struggling during this.”
DaRoo’s hours and operations:
• Kitchen open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for carry-out or delivery only
• Watch for specials on Facebook
• Phone number: (218) 281-5000
• Website: www.daroospizza.com
WONDERFUL LIFE FOODS
Wonderful Life Foods will remain open for customers to purchase food to-go, buy groceries, get coffee and smoothies, and more. However, they will not be able to offer seating in their dining area during the mandate but encourage their customers to come in and shop and grab a “quick healthy lunch” to go.
Wonderful Life hours and operations:
• Kitchen/store open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (M-F) and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for carry-out orders or groceries only
• Watch for specials on Facebook
• Phone number: (218) 281-1125
China Moon, Crookston Eagles, and Snow Sled Inn all announced they will be closed during the state mandate until at least March 27 for various reasons.