ROCHESTER, Minnesota - After more than two months of operating as takeout only, Forager Brewery is back open Monday for customers using their outdoor patio. Co-owner and head brewer Austin Jevne couldn't be happier.
"We're really excited and obviously the weather worked out perfectly for a Minnesota spring, summer kind of day," he said.
Forager has felt the sting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking with Jevne a few weeks ago, he said his business isn't meant for takeout only.
"We base all of our business on what happens inside these walls," he said.
He says having customers back on the patio is refreshing.
"Our staff is really excited to have customers back in-house," Jevne said. "The kitchen was really excited to get away from doing meal plan prep all week."
The brewery was busy during Monday's dinner rush, with reservations full at 6 p.m. Tables were spread apart to ensure social distancing and customers enjoyed the chance to sit down and eat.
"We are thrilled to have this beautiful patio and great food and enjoy the outdoors and be able to dine out again, it's awesome," customer Ladonna Delorme said.
As protests and riots continue to sweep through the nation, finally eating at a restaurant is an escape for Jamie and Ladonna Delorme, who left their Minneapolis home for Rochester.
"It almost feels normal," Jamie said.
Forager's safety plan includes sanitizing eating areas, employees wearing masks and spacing out tables. The inside is only open for guests to use the restroom.
The brewery may look different, but Jevne is happy to serve guests on what he calls the best patio in town.