EXCELSIOR — Paul and Rachelle Taunton of Chanhassen sat at the rear of their boat, enjoying a meal and enjoying Lake Minnetonka.
“If this is compromise, I can do this all day long,” Paul said with a smile while taking a break from his meal during Saturday’s 70-degree day.
The Tauntons likely would prefer to be enjoying their meals from Maynards in Excelsior at the restaurant’s outdoor patio, but with the COVID-19 restrictions, that’s not an option.
So, Maynards has been offering dockside delivery service to those using the wharf.
“This is better than nothing at all,” Paul said. “I think these guys better be prepared because this is the new norm. This isn’t bad at all; out on the lake and we still get our good food. A lot of this is all about attitude.”
Beth Maloney, manager and a Maynards owner, said the dockside service has “been very popular. It’s doing great. We’ve been real busy.
“Depending on what happens in the next few weeks, we might have to change the system a bit as the need increases with more boats out there,” she added. “Everyone is excited to be out on the lake. This is one thing we can do to help people enjoy the experience.”
Maloney doesn’t expect the dockside service to continue once social distancing and stay-at-home orders fizzle.
“Even though this is great under the circumstances that we’ve been dealt, I believe that people will come here because they enjoy the atmosphere of being outside, lakeside, with other people,” she said. “It’s a fun environment.
“I would say when things get back to normal that we would go back to our regular procedure,” Maloney added. “They’ll dock the boat and enjoy the people and restaurant.”
Dan and Abby Lefevre of Chanhassen, and Brian and Katie Murrell of St. Louis Park also took advantage of the dockside service Saturday to collect food before heading back out on the water.
“Normally, we’d go in, have a beverage and enjoy a meal, but this is a close second,” Dan said just before leaving shore with a bag full of food. “We’ll have a little lunch on the boat. That’s not a bad day.”
Boaters have to wait to order food until they are docked.
“It only took 15 minutes, so it was all good,” Dan added. “It’s a different experience.”
Jenni Hovde of Prior Lake, along with a crew that included her husband, four children and a dog, ordered burgers, chicken strips and waffle fries while docked at Maynards.
“It’s kind of a like a drive-in,” she said. “I would much rather be able to get out, go up to the restaurant and hang out, but I’ll take this as a consolation prize. We would definitely do this again.”
Tom Emer, manager of Lord Fletcher’s on Lake Minnetonka, said he expects dockside service will “definitely be a lot more” when curbside and dockside service there begins May 1.
“We’ve always done dockside, albeit it will be a bit more this year since people can’t come inside,” he said. “There will be a lot of people on the lake looking for takeout.
“You have to do the best you can under the circumstances,” Emer said.