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Outdoor seating at Crookston bars and restaurants starts June 1

Jess Bengtson
jbengtson@crookstontimes.com
Irishman's Shanty will reopen June 1 with outdoor dining. Here is a view of their seating prep on the west side of the building near the bar entrance.

    In what, for some, feels like decades since they’ve been able to go “out to eat” at their favorite restaurant or catch an “after-work” drink at the watering hole of their choice, some Crookston bars and restaurants are finally able to reopen to dine-in customers June 1, but only with seating outdoors -  whether that be in their parking lots or on their patios. In late May, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order allowing bars and restaurants to open at a reduced capacity with an outdoor-only arrangement for dine-in customers across the state. Many Crookston bars and restaurants are taking advantage of the offer and are readying their businesses for what they hope will be a step in the right direction toward a new normal.

    The Times’ checked in with some local businesses to hear about their plans and get the inside scoop on what they’ll be offering.

CROOKSTON INN/SCOBEY’S PUB & GRUB

    Scobey’s owners Laurie and Craig Stahlecker eagerly brought the tape measure outside the Inn last week scoping out the lot for what’s going to work to make the transition easy for themselves and their customers. Scobey’s plans to offer outdoor seating starting Tuesday, June 2 (they’ll be closed Monday, June 1 in honor of longtime KROX Radio announcer Mark Anderson’s funeral.) They’ll offer seating for 50, the maximum number of customers allowed, and will have their full menu plus full bar options available six days a week as they’re closed Sundays.

    Their outdoor seating, which they plan to add music and lights too, will be located on the southwest end of the building closest to the banquet room entrance and most visible to those driving by. They plan to have their portable bar equipment inside the office door so waiters and waitresses can easily go in and out with orders. Scobey’s even has new drink specials like “Tea Tuesdays”, “Wings and Beer Wednesdays”, “Friday Weekend Wine Down”, and “Sangria Saturdays” to go along with their weekly food specials.

    “We can’t get over how much support we’ve received since we reopened with new ownership,” Laurie told the Times. “We hope the new outdoor seating will bring back some familiar faces and bring in new customers.”

    Scobey’s even has their safety plan in place with social distancing guidelines for tables and guests, sanitizing between customers, all condiments for tables to-go style, and they’re encouraging people to view their full menu on their website, www.crookstoninn.com, or they will provide a wipeable option, or you can get a paper menu to-go.

    “Our employees will be wearing masks and we encourage our customers to wear masks if they’re comfortable,” Stahlecker added. “Our safety plan is available for anyone who wants to view it as well.”

    Scobey’s outdoor seating will be open Monday (with the exception of June 1) through Saturday from 4-10 p.m. with food orders open until 9 p.m. Curbside ordering is still encouraged Mondays from 4-7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 4-8 p.m. Reservations are required by calling (218) 470-1000.

DRAFTS SPORTS BAR & GRILL

    Draft’s owners Jasmine and Brent Melsa have already offered patio seating in the past, but now, with a new order from the state only allowing outdoor seating at bars/restaurants, they’re expanding their options in a big way. They’re using up their lot space to include the entire west side of their parking lot for outdoor seating which will include their rod-iron tables, picnic tables, bar tables and more. Plus, they’ll have their food truck outside for extra ordering options when they get busy with customers.

    They were talking tiki decor, lights and fencing when the Times stopped by, and were excited for what June 1 had to bring.

    “We’re taking this seriously as we have our safety plan with guidelines in place and we’ll offer ‘bathroom passes’ for our customers, but we’re also trying to make this fun,” Jasmine explained.

    Drafts posted some of their guidelines on social media which remind people that they’re encouraged to wear masks if they’re comfortable especially when entering their building to use the restroom. Plus, to keep their customers safe, Drafts says they’ll be disinfecting high-touch surfaces every two hours, disinfecting tables and seats after each guest, taking staff temperatures and doing health screenings at the beginning of each shift and using disposable menus for most customers.

    They’ll have their patio open seven days a week starting June 1 (Monday -Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 2-9 p.m., Sunday 2-8 p.m.) with hours subject to change depending on weather, staffing and traffic, plus curbside to-go during those same hours. They will have seating for 50 and parties are limited to four people per table or six people for families. Reservations are also required by calling (218) 281-1183.

    Their regular food and drink specials will begin again Monday like “Mac & Mule” Mondays, “Wings & Pitchers” Wednesdays, “Taco & Tequila” Thursdays, “Ribs & Teas” Fridays, and “BLT Bloodys & Caesars” on Saturdays and Sundays.

IRISHMAN’S SHANTY

    Shanty owner Paul Gregg and his sister-in-law Carol Gregg, who is also the office manager and Paul’s right-hand when it comes to the business, told the Times they’re using available outdoor seating options from the City of Crookston in the form of rented picnic tables and portable patios, plus borrowed spool tables from the Ox Cart Days festival starting June 1 when their bar/restaurant will offer outdoor dining.

    They’ll offer outside dining on the north and west side of the building near the bar entrance and will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays with possible expanded evening hours as business dictates. Plus, they’ll continue to offer take-out during those hours by calling (218) 281-5512.

    “Hygiene will be primary,” said Paul, talking about his safety plan that he submitted to the city. “We’ll have special training for staff, one-time use items on the tables, and people are encouraged to look up our menus on their phones so we don’t have to hand menus out.”

    The Shanty also plans for social distancing with people and tables, and masks are required to be worn by his employees and encouraged with customers. They plan to offer their full menu and bar with specials to be announced, and will utilize outside lighting from their building if needed.

    Carol added that their written plan will be posted for any customer that would like to view it.

I.C. MUGGS/MUGOO’S PIZZA

    Mugg’s owner Justin Paul was busy ringing people up inside Best Buy Liquors next door when the Times stopped by to find out their game plan for June 1, but he proudly announced they were ready for Monday.

    Muggs/Mugoos will be open seven days a week, Monday through Sunday, from 4-10 p.m. for outdoor dining. They’ll have their full menu available, tables, chairs, umbrellas, and have expanded their patio dining area.

    Like other establishments, they’ll allow four people per table or six if guests are all family. They’ll also be implementing many of the same safety guidelines such as social distancing, additional sanitizing, and it will be up to their patrons if they would like to wear masks but their employees will be.

    Mugoos will continue to offer pizza and lavoshes for take-out by calling (218) 281-3130 and have their daily specials like wings on Mondays, grinders on Tuesdays, house nachos grande on Wednesdays and large specialty pizzas on Thursdays. Best Buy Liquors off-sale will remain open as they have been from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

RBJ’S RESTAURANT

    RBJ’s owner Kim Samuelson told the Times they will not be offering any outdoor seating at this time, but still encourage people to get their orders to-go. RBJ’s posted on Facebook that they “continue to be very grateful for those ordering take out” and will continue that until further notice.

    “RBJ’s is here for all your lunch breaks, lake weekend, and afternoon sweet tooth needs (rhubarb season is here!)” they posted. “Big or small, we do it all!”

    RBJ’s is open for carry-out Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and delivery options for businesses. Place a to-go order with RBJ’s by calling (218) 281-3636.

HAPPY JOE’S PIZZA & ICE CREAM

    Happy Joe’s manager Brooke Panzer announced they would not be offering outdoor dining at the famed pizza place, but are willing to hold-out for indoor dining when they can have their birthday parties and buffets again. Panzer says they will still offer take-out and delivery from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday, plus online ordering at www.happyjoes.com is available.

    Happy Joe’s orders can also be placed by calling (218) 281-5141.

CASEY’S GENERAL STORE

    Casey’s in Crookston will continue to offer their famous pizzas, salads, subs and more for carryout daily or delivery, but they do not have any plans to offer outdoor seating at this time, General Manager Elizabeth “Libby” Boucher told the Times.

    Ordering online is ideal, said Boucher, or orders can be taken over the phone by calling (218) 281-1914.

    “People have been super about this whole thing and we’ll bring orders to your car if you’d like,” Boucher continued. “We also offer delivery from 4-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.”

CROOKS CLUB BAR

    Crooks Club will be open with outdoor seating and they’re hoping to start Monday, June 1. They plan to be open from 2-10 p.m. daily, plus their Bottle Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Crooks can be reached at (218) 281-5503 for more information.

SNOW SLED INN IN GENTILLY

    Snow Sled owner Deonne Maygra says they’ll open their outdoor seating starting Friday, June 5 at 11 a.m. at the bar/restaurant in Gentilly. Pick-up orders will also be available at that time by calling (218) 281-5028.

ONE N ONLY IN EUCLID

    The One N Only bar/restaurant in Euclid will begin to offer outdoor dining starting Tuesday, June 2. They can be reached at (218) 281-2118 for more information.