One of Dallas’ most popular bars, Katy Trail Ice House, reopened Friday

Despite an order from the Texas Governor to keep bars closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Katy Trail Ice House in Uptown Dallas reopened at 12:00 noon on Friday, August 7th.

According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), the popular outdoor bar sold more alcohol in the past year than almost any other standalone bar in Dallas. Katy Trail Ice House averaged $ 530,000 per month in alcohol last year.

It’s been closed since June 26, when Governor Greg Abbott’s orders shut down bars across Texas to limit the spread of COVID-19. During an earlier shutdown order in May, Katy Trail tried to reopen Ice House and received a slap.

This time, Buddy Cramer, co-owner of Katy Trail Ice House, said he had worked with the TABC to reopen his facility under an agreement to sell more food than alcohol.

Here is a typical scene at the Katy Trail Ice House in Uptown Dallas in 2013, long before the pandemic. (Sonya Hebert-Schwartz / employee photographer)

The percentages are important as companies that sell 51% or more alcohol must remain closed under the governor’s mandate. “Any company that has violated the governor’s order could expect a 30-day suspension of its license to sell alcohol,” said TABC spokesman Chris Porter.

He says facilities with “FB Certificates” like Katy Trail Ice House are audited. They urge citizens and local officials to help identify companies that pose a risk, and TABC may “conduct more frequent audits of companies that are at higher risk of breach,” notes Porter.

Cramer’s plan to increase grocery sales begins with all diners having to order something to eat, a new rule. The servers will also promote Katy Trail Ice House’s merchandise as those sales will help them maintain compliance, Cramer says.

On their menus, food prices were increased and beverage prices decreased.

The Katy Trail leadership joins a growing number of food and beverage executives in North Texas who have coordinated with TABC to reopen their facilities during the coronavirus. Each approach is different: at Lava Cantina in The Colony, for example, the owner put grocery sales and concert tickets into a category so alcohol sales were less than half. In Billy Bobs Texas, Fort Worth, its general manager has applied for a food and drink certificate to classify the huge music venue as a restaurant.

Cramer notes that the paperwork is “a little silly”.

“The ice house has always been a restaurant,” he says. “But if we have to do that, we will stick to it,” he says.

Billy Bobs Texas was closed on March 13 for restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.  It reopened on June 18 and closed again on June 26, according to Governor Greg Abbott's orders to close the bar.  After Billy Bobs Texas revised some documents with TABC, he plans to reopen as a restaurant on August 13, 2020.

The bar-restaurant’s favorite foods are the cheeseburgers and jalapeño bottle stoppers, and Cramer hopes to sell many when it reopens.

According to CDC guidelines, according to Cramer, all tables are disinfected before a new guest sits down. He removed about 25% of the patio tables to keep them further apart. He suspects that with the new setup around 500 people can gather on the terrace.

Customers who choose to have dinner will be looked after by a Katy Trail Ice House employee.

Katy Trail Ice House attempted to reopen in early May during an earlier shutdown order, although it didn’t take long. Then it reopened legally from late May to late June, until the governor’s mandate on June 26 closed the establishment along with hundreds of other bars in North Texas. Katy Trail stayed closed for food in July and early August but was selling take-away food and drinks.

Cramer says the takeout sales were “not great”.

“The ice house is a place you come to because of the atmosphere,” he says. “People go there to get the trees and the path. And we couldn’t do that in a to-go format. “

The Katy Trail Ice House is located at 3127 Routh St., Dallas.

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter @sblaskovich.

Armando Ramirez, owner of Deep Sushi, checks security logs with staff before dinner at Deep Ellum restaurant.  Ramirez said he's had his employees tested at least twice since being shut down for two months because of COVID-19.  So far, she has not had a positive test for the coronavirus.Doctors look at a lung CT image in a hospital in Xiaogan, China.

Comments are closed.