In November 2016, the Family Dog on Mill Street in Orono will hit its four-year anniversary. A restaurant known for its relaxed atmosphere, great food and weekend entertainment, the business has been booming since it’s founding in 2012.
One Family Dog regular stated, “The Family Dog has something for everyone, four-legged or otherwise. You can bring your dogs in and a lot of options on the menu are based off different dog breeds.”
The restaurant features rotating local beers on tap and hosts “tap takeovers” where local breweries can come in and showcase their products. There are many seating options both inside and on the newly renovated patio outdoors.
Minor renovations began on the patio and general restaurant in the spring of 2016. In July 2016, the patio was completely closed down to finish renovations and expansion plans. The new patio features a bigger area, complete with tall-top seating and grass. Owner Bob Cutler explained that people like the “open atmosphere” of the new patio style. The patio advertises for the restaurant effortlessly — people drive by and see their friends outside enjoying food and drinks and are prompted to stop in themselves.
The newly renovated patio also features a 15-foot screen that plays shows, movies and other events for the customers while they are enjoying their food and drinks. Cutler refers to the events as “fam dog and chill.” On Thursday, Sept. 1, the screen featured the UMaine vs. University of Connecticut football game held at UConn. Other nights, it has featured shows such as “Parks and Recreation” and movies like “Mean Girls.”
Cutler strives to create and maintain a business that is “comfortable” for his customers. He runs a restaurant that can be home to college friends eating and drinking as well as quiet, family dinners.
With the opening of the new patio, the business hours have expanded. Previously, the restaurant closed at 10 p.m. each night. But with the new business coming in, the hours on Friday and Saturday nights have expanded to 12 a.m.
Orono House of Pizza (OHOP) on Park Street in Orono also recently focused on renovations to their parking lot. In the spring of 2016, the parking lot was unpaved and unfinished, making it hard for customers and delivery drivers to get in and out of the restaurant and parking spaces.
Over the summer months, the driveway was finished, paved and organized for a more effective business. There are now specific parking spaces as well as space for the delivery drivers to make their deliveries more efficient. The drivers previously had to pull into parking spaces anywhere they could in the parking lot — now, they have designated areas in the back and sides of the building, creating an overall easier delivery experience for the workers.
OHOP is a popular pizza joint in Orono. They offer pick-up and delivery, various deals throughout the week, and are located conveniently close to campus. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Business is expected to increase with the new parking lot, access for the delivery drivers and the addition of the student complex The Avenue.