The Family Dog, a popular downtown eatery among University of Maine students, for the second time showcased its new outdoor terrace during a celebration this past Wednesday, Jan. 20. The event, called “S’mores & Pours,” featured numerous drink specials, a customized ice luge and, of course, s’mores.
Family Dog owner Bob Cutler said that the “S’mores & Pours” theme was created to get the townspeople and students acquainted with the new square footage.
“It was just through a series of conversations on what we could do to . . . to get everyone excited about the semester starting back up, welcome [the students] back,” Cutler said. “We have this great space.”
The 2,200-square-foot terrace will feature grass in the warmer months, but for now, it’s covered with ice and snow — the perfect setting to enjoy s’mores by a fire pit.
Cutler says the motivation behind the building of the terrace came from a lack of space. Now that construction is finished, Cutler has plans to renew his restaurant and the downtown area with live music and other exciting attractions, including movie nights.
“We’re going to be doing some really awesome things out there. We’re pumped,” Cutler said.
Cutler believes that UMaine will benefit from Family Dog’s recent expansion and, by extension, the downtown Orono area, as it should interest prospective students.
“You come now during the summer… there’s gonna [sic] be a great space, and there’s gonna be music, and there’s gonna be events, and you’ll come in for a meal and [prospective students] will be like ‘Oh my God, there’s all these really cool things happening downtown!’ It’s not just ‘Hey, come in and get a burrito and some wings.’”
As for further renovations, both physical and otherwise, Cutler has some plans up his sleeve.
“I think we’re close to announcing a partnership to bring a lot of live music to town,” Cutler teased.
Cutler also has plans to expand the outdoor space further with a full bar, and a year-round ceiling for the deck. “This is just the tip of the iceberg … you know, because it’s freezing,” Cutler joked.
Apart from the debut of the new terrace, the “S’mores & Pours” celebration was meant to showcase drink specials that could warm anyone up, with liquor selections ranging from strawberry shortcake martinis, to Fireball Whiskey shots through the ice luge and Shipyard Brewing Company’s GingerBreadHead on tap.
“We thought this would be a good way to do a little bit of everything, plus a lot of students don’t even know we do liquor,” Cutler said.
It certainly was a “little bit of everything,” as every drink purchased came with a s’more kit for the fire pit.
“I’m having a blast and freezing my butt off,” Zach Austin, a guest bartender from Sea Dog Brewing Company, said at the event. Austin is also excited about the expansion of the terrace, and he predicts it will be quite popular. “This is going to be the number one spot during the summer.”
And Cutler agrees.
“It’s going to be a destination,” Cutler said. “It’s going to be a nice place for the community, and a nice place for students alike.”