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Dinner date with your dog? Unique brewpub proposed in Midland area

Dogs frolic off leash (illegally) in Jackson Park. They'll have a legal play area next to the Pub Dog restaurant if the city approves the Bott Avenue proposal.
Westside Pioneer photo
       A mixed-use neighborhood in the Westside's Midland area could become the first place in Colorado - possibly even the country - where people can take their dogs to a restaurant.
       In a recent interview, developer Scott Downs said he spent the better part of a year gaining a waiver to the state code that would allow such an activity.
       Now he is hoping for city approval of the “Pub Dog” restaurant, proposed on an 18,000-square-foot vacant lot at 2207 Bott Ave.
       The plan, including a request for a zone change to allow a commercial use, will go before City Planning Commission at its meeting Thursday, Oct. 16 in City Hall Council Chambers, 107 N. Nevada Ave., starting at 8:30 a.m.
       Also in the submittal are a concept plan and a minor amendment to the Midland Master Plan. That part of Bott Avenue is known for a mix of industrial, commercial and residential uses, but the Midland Plan (written 25 years ago) shows it as “low-density residential,” according to assigned city planner Mike Schultz, who is recommending approval.
       The concept plan shows a 2,340-square-foot restaurant on the site with an outdoor patio and a parking lot.
       Also available will be a shuffleboard court and a 2,200-square-foot grass area where dogs can run around, Downs said.
       People who don't have dogs are also welcome, with part of the restaurant (50 seats) set aside for them. He said 40 seats are planned on the dogs-and-owners side, with another 60 in an outdoor patio next to it. The shuffleboard court and grassy area would be beyond that, closer to the back of the property.
       He pledged excellent food, along with "craft beers."
       According to Downs, he has the backing of the neighborhood. “I've yet to find anyone who wasn't excited beyond all measure about this being built,” he said. “Out of 26 neighbors we talked to, they weren't just in favor, they were emotionally in favor.”
       The business would be run by his daughter, Tara Downs, who currently is a manager at a downtown restaurant. The concept was also her idea, after noticing how, more and more, dog owners like taking their pets with them when they go places. “She had this bright idea: Why can't you go eat with your dog?” Downs said.
The vacant lot that's proposed for Pub Dog is seen on the south side of the 2200 block of Bott Avenue. The restaurant is proposed for the right (west) side of the property and the parking lot on the east side. The trees in front would remain.
Westside Pioneer photo
       He has statistics backing up his belief that the enterprise will be successful. In El Paso County, he said, there are more than 90,000 dog-owning households. “And if you add in Teller and Pueblo counties, it becomes 116,000.”
       He also pointed to the county's popular Dog Park about a mile away on South 21st Street and a study showing that the Midland area is “underserved” with restaurants.
       It was the capability of dividing the restaurant between canine and non-canine sides that finally won over the County Health Department. “The first answer was no, you can't, because of the rules,” Downs said. The big issue was that food servers couldn't come into contact with dogs. “But we asked, 'Why not work within the code to deal with the change in society?' By golly, six months later, on the governor's letterhead, we got a waiver to the code.”
       City Council will also need to vote on the zone change.
       Assuming that, and considering the time for construction, Downs estimated a year and four months before Pub Dog can open. The property is currently owned by Robert and Jim Vidmar, but the agreement is to buy the land from them if the project gets the city's OK.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 10/9/14; Land: Proposals)

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