ORONO, Maine — The Family Dog restaurant on Mill Street is adding a large grass terrace between its current deck and the main road that will add a performance area, seating and an outside fireplace.
“We’re pumped,” owner Bob Cutler said Friday, after gaining planning board approval. “We’re putting in an appropriately 2,000-square-foot raised grass terrace off our deck. It will provide community space for events and add space for our customers.”
His plans for the terrace went before town planners on Wednesday, some of whom asked about the loss of parking spots and the change in the traffic pattern.
“It’s not a particularly safe crossover with that space,” Town Planner Evan Richert said of the sloped driveway that connects Mill Street to the parking lot of Burby & Bates on Oak Street. “They’re building a retaining wall. They’ll lose eight parking spaces [along Main Street] but will add eight spaces in the lower lot.”
The Family Dog opened at 6 Mill St. in November 2012, offering gourmet hot dogs and burgers, and Cutler hopes to have the expansion started this fall and complete by early spring.
The retaining wall will mean “a different pedestrian path, that’s all,” for those traveling between Oak and Mill streets, he said.
Carpenter Associates of Old Town prepared the site plan for The Family Dog under A&A Orono, Inc.
Cutler, who said he wants to host family movie nights and live music on his new outside terrace, is adding food and drinks to the outside area but customers will also be able to order items off the regular Family Dog menu.
“We’ll have a menu expansion,” the owner said in between taking and delivering orders. “It will be cocktail service along with a full bar.”
The new space also allows for one of the company’s two food trucks, the Stray Dog or Grammy’s Grilled Cheeses and Melts, to be parked and operated at the location.
The outside terrace will also have a fireplace and makings for s’mores will be added to the menu, Cutler said.
“We’re going to have a beautiful fireplace out there,” he said. “We’ll have sticks out there so they can make their own s’mores. It’s something different and fun.”