Assuming COVID-19 does not slip us a mickey somehow, when diners-out read this article they will be able to dine in when dining out at Brown Dog Café. The preceding sentence is not gobbledygook, nor obfuscation or convoluted syntax—it is fact! The State of Ohio, according to Governor Mike DeWine, has cleared the way for inside dining as of this day, Thursday, May 21.
“We’re excited to re-open, and this time, we’re more than ready. We’re going to open, and we are going to survive this (pandemic),” said Shawn McCoy, owner-executive chef at Brown Dog Café.
The “this time” phrase, McCoy explained, referred to the actual grand opening of the restaurant several years ago, when everything was new, and staff was still learning the ropes and the intricacies of the place. Now, today, McCoy and his staff are re-starting a place they know like the backs of their own hands—a much different proposition.
That said, there are nuances that are brand new; distancing, for one. As it happens, Brown Dog’s layout features some natural or built-in advantages to address the sea change this virus has wrought. Booths at Brown Dog feature unusually high seat backs, which makes the booth table arrangements safer than the norm. So high are the backs, in fact, that Blue Ash officials in charge of overseeing the state regulated reopening of eateries have divined that they protect inside diners better. Therefore, all booths can be used in seating patrons. This is compared to most other restaurants where every other booth is cordoned off to accommodate the necessary 6- foot spacing requirement. Diners-out may want to consider this advantage in deciding where to go to eat when eating out. Safer, after all, is better, and the high backs act as a wall of separation—and protection—from other diners.
In addition to the indoor dining, Brown Dog Café has an extensive outdoor seating area that has grown larger still in area. Again, the Blue Ash city managers have granted the eateries in Summit Park (Brown Dog’s location) to expand outdoor seating beyond established parameters. “The building inspector asked us if we wanted to expand that way, with seating outside our (designated) space. So, with the 6-foot spacing that we are required to maintain (and the extra space), we can seat around 60 guests outside,” McCoy said.
An advantage to this extended perimeter for seating is that the seats are not in a street that has been blocked off. Streets are streets, with all the features (some not so savory) of streets. Being in a park setting, Brown Dog’s extra tables and chairs are positioned in more environmentally inviting space.
Should you find yourself in Summit Park for exercise, another advantage of the Brown Dog setup is the pizza-oven station. “People at the park for jogging or whatever can walk up to where we make the pizzas out on the patio and order food. Our whole menu is available out there,” he said. “But it is perfect for a grab-and-go patron as well. Order a pizza and a soft drink and there is a case out there with cookies and stuff like that. It’s easy and fast and accessible without coming inside the restaurant, if that is a concern for anybody.”
Of course, all the front of house staff at Brown Dog Café will be masked and gloved and will be careful in protecting the wellbeing of every guest, according to McCoy. “We have gone over all the cleaning and sanitizing, and how to provide service (in this new world) to our guests.
We’re ready for this, and we’re all excited to be back here serving people, even if it is different than it was,” McCoy said.
One other change for Brown Dog Café is its tribute to healthcare workers who have risked so much and worked so hard during this difficult time. “We are offering 20% off to these folks for the rest of May and all of June, to show our appreciation for all they have done (in addressing the pandemic).”
See you at Brown Dog Café!
Brown Dog Cafe
1000 Summit Park Place
Blue Ash Ohio