By Cristi McKee | Photo: Railroad Square Craft House
One of Tallahassee’s newer additions to its food scene, Railroad Square Craft House, located at 644 McDonnell Dr in Railroad Square, reopened on May 4, 2020, with customers’ safety their top priority. Most known for their craft beer, drunken chicken philly, wings, and overall fun atmosphere, the Craft House offers the largest outdoor dining area in Tallahassee, boasting of nearly 10,000 sq ft of outdoor dining space. Amid COVID-19 concerns, this restaurant’s square footage proves to be extremely important as more and more restaurants open back up following Governor Ron DeSantis’ 25% capacity limit regarding restaurant seating.
The reopening of this restaurant only came after much thought and community feedback. “When the reopening to 25% was announced, we as a team, were still on the fence, so we surveyed the community to gauge how they were feeling,” Justine Spells, one of the Craft House owners, admitted.
While not required to eliminate indoor dining options, the Craft House wanted to go above and beyond safety suggestions and opted to offer only outdoor seating for the time being. Since their outdoor seating-only re-opening, the Craft House has implemented a number of new safety measures and keeps coming up with new and innovative ways to keep their customers happy and healthy while dining at their restaurant.
“As soon as there were talks about reopening and what it would look like, I started looking into different measures and throwing some ideas out to my business partners,” Spells explained.
The additional safety measures that the Craft House has implemented are results of long and hard brainstorming sessions. At the Craft House, “We removed a bunch of outdoor tables so you can feel confident in choosing us for your dining experience” so that there was more space “for you to enjoy and relax.”
As of recent, the restaurant is offering QR code menus, putting a 8-10 ft distance between tables, and installing low-contact bathroom door openers. “After California’s Governor mentioned disposable menus, I really began to think. For us located in the Art District, wasting that much paper—not to mention the printing costs—didn’t seem feasible, so I took to Facebook on my personal page and wrote a long winded post about everything weighing on a restaurant owner’s mind. That’s when a friend that I’ve known since High School who is a Chef in Houston mentioned a QR code menu. I looked into it and it seemed like the perfect fit,” the co-owner explained.
The Craft House staff now practices the wearing of masks by servers, temperature checks at the beginning of each shift, and the wearing of gloves when removing items from tables. “We’ve had great customer responses to everything that we implemented. I’m surprised everything has been so well received, even switching primarily to the digital menus that you access through a QR code has been a success.”
You can view Railroad Square Craft House’s menu online, here, and keep up-to-date with their food and drink specials by visiting their Facebook page, here. While Spells understands that some may not yet feel comfortable dining outside of their house, she assures, “We’re ready when you are.”