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The Cool Water Grille has reached another milestone in the restaurant business.
The breakfast and lunch restaurant at 337 W. Victory Way has now been open for a year and is trying out new business ideas as it dives into year two.
Restaurant manager Erin Dunham said it has been a fun first year in Craig.
“It’s been very good to us,” Dunham said. “The people in Craig have been great to us. We’re just happy to be able to survive the first year.”
Dunham says the clientele has steadily grown over the past year, and that has allowed the staff to increase by five employees as well.
A new year is allowing Cool Water Grille to try some new business ideas. The restaurant, typically open from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. has extended its hours in the morning to open at 4:30 a.m. for hunting season.
“We weren’t really able to do this last year because we had just opened,” Dunham said. “We want to be able to give the hunters a good meal before they go out for the day. I think that either way, whether it’s a good turnout or bad turnout my dad would do it next year anyway.”
Dunham’s father Dennis Otis, the owner of Cool Water Grille, arrives at the restaurant to set up at 4 a.m. most mornings, Dunham said.
“When he gets here at four, the lights are on and if someone wanted food he would cook it for them,” she said. “That’s just the way he is. So even if we don’t do a lot of business (in the extra morning hour), he’ll just do it to feed the hunters.”
Dunham also mentioned that she was looking at expanding the menu, specifically adding a croissant sandwich to the breakfast menu.
“There will be some changes on the menu,” she said. “I’d like to have a croissant where you can pick your own meat and we’ll make it the way you’d like. Otherwise it’s going to be pretty much the same.”
Cool Water’s success so far means Dunham is not looking to tinker with the business model much. She is thankful for all the support the restaurant has gotten making that a possibility.
“We just want to say thank you for all the people who gave us a chance to make it as far as we have,” Dunham said. “We hope to continue feeding everybody and helping them have a better day, and be able to have fun doing it.”
Double Barrel nears a month in Craig; staying busy
The opening of a restaurant will often attract patrons for the first several nights, but keeping them coming back is the hard part.
For the Double Barrel Steakhouse, which opened in Craig at 351 S. Ranney St. Aug. 6 after moving from a Hayden, it has been almost a month, and the customers are still streaming in.
Ann Marie Roberts, who owns the restaurant with husband Pat, said the turnout has been thrilling.
“It’s awesome. It’s exciting,” Roberts said. “The response is unbelievable. We were hoping it would be good, but it’s been above and beyond.”
Roberts doesn’t think Double Barrel has done anything spectacular other than run a strong restaurant so far.
“We offer good food and reasonable prices and, hopefully, good service,” she said. “We hope to continue that.”
Business has been strong enough that Double Barrel’s staff has more than doubled since it came to Craig. On opening day, it had five employees. Now, Roberts said it employs 12 people.
The success has Pat and Ann Marie Roberts excited, but is not likely to result in major changes.
“We’ll maybe introduce more specials, but we’re just cruising along right now, enjoying it,” Ann Marie Roberts said.
With hunting season beginning, the Roberts expect an increase in business. Even if numbers were to stay where they are, that would be okay by them because the support has been so good in the first month.
“Thanks to everyone for supporting us,” Roberts said. “We appreciate it and hope we continue keeping you happy when you come in.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org