BISMARCK, N.D. – One cafe in Bismarck re-opened for curbside delivery last week, but was surprised when customers chose to eat in the parking lot.
A group of regulars have been meeting at The Little Cottage Cafe for nearly a decade. When the restaurant was forced to close their doors due to the pandemic, the group of men got creative and began having a tailgate out in the parking lot every morning at 7:00 a.m.
As the sun comes up, a small gathering continues a decade long tradition.
“It kind of disappeared when the economy shut down because of the pandemic,” says Jim Schmidt, a longtime customer.
Café owners were greeted by customers the first day they re-opened the restaurant.
“I think they kind of like it, it’s like a family when they come here,” says Wanda Serr, co-owner of The Little Cottage Café.
Cups of coffee are filled in the back of tailgates, and orders are taken at a distance.
“We really enjoy the camaraderie of each other,” says Schmidt.
But the service is from the same familiar face.
“They feel like they’re at home again, and I think during that month they were missing it as much as my husband and I were,” says Serr.
When the cafe re-opens, the men, who are among the most vulnerable population, hope they can continue to gather every day.
“We asked her if she would let us have the opportunity to give us the privilege of staying out here in the parking lot and she said she thinks so,” says Schmidt.
Until tomorrow, when they return to their favorite spot for their morning tailgate.
With Gov. Burgum’s plans to begin re-opening restaurants on Friday, owners of The Little Cottage Cafe hope they will start having customers back sometime next week.