Dining and music return to Cave Creek

By TOM SCANLON
Foothills Focus Staff Writer

Gov. Doug Ducey barely lifted the restrictions on bars and restaurants when Cave Creek’s establishments started getting ready for action.

And at least one venue plans to crank up live music again.

“We’re going back to nine shows a week, as long as we’re able to have the bands play outside. The exception will be if it is too hot or raining,” said Julian Corles of Janey’s Coffee Company.

Guitar virtuoso Bill Dutcher is scheduled to play solo there at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, and with his band at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Loud House is to play Friday night at Janey’s.

Corles didn’t think Janey’s Coffee Company would make it after restrictions laid down by Ducey and Cave Creek Mayor Ernie Bunch.

“The first three days after (Ducey’s order), I was very tempted to say screw it and close. I was thinking, ‘How am I going to get through this?” said Corles, whose venue celebrated its 10th anniversary last week.

“But then I recognized people kept coming in. People kept spending money on to-go orders and certificates, saying, ‘I really want you to stay open.’ By the end of the first week, there was never a doubt we would get our way through this.”

After serving breakfast, lunch and coffee to go only for nearly two months, Corles’ staff now will be able to serve patrons inside.

Even though his business fell off drastically last month, “I didn’t lay anybody off,” Corles said.

Bigger venues just north of Janey’s are also gearing up to handle in-house dining.

Though they were open for takeout and delivery, the likes of Harold’s Cave Creek Corral and Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse made deep cuts in staff after Ducey’s March order banning in-restaurant dining—then called in furloughed staff to get ready for Monday, May 11, the date Ducey gave as the all-clear for restaurant dining.

Harold’s was ready to start serving breakfast at 8 a.m. Monday, May 11. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served there until 10 p.m. weeknights and midnight on weekends.

“After seven weeks of cleaning and sanitizing and then cleaning and sanitizing again, we’re ready to open,” according to a Harold’s Facebook post.

The Buffalo Chip announced on its website, “We will be open for full indoor and outdoor dining at 10 a.m. May 11.”

It won’t be “business as usual,” however, as Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health gave more of a yellow light than a green one, putting in place restrictions on reduced capacity and requiring restaurants to sanitize frequently and “consider offering masks to wait and host staff.”

Corles said he is fine with the restrictions.

“We’re allowed to do 50% of occupancy. Inside the building, our occupancy is 46, so we’re allowed to have 23,” he said.

He planned to “lose a few barstools” to allow patrons distance.

The sprawling outdoor area has plenty of room for diners and music lovers to stay 6 feet apart, he said.

He wants people to have a good time—to a point.

“We’re going to have to watch the dancing. I can’t have 25 people dancing, It’s got to be 10 or less,” Corles said.

“I’m just going to be up front talking to people and explain this is the new norm. Let’s do our part so no one gets upset and we don’t spread the virus unnecessarily.”