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Covington Yard food hall announces restaurant tenants, spring opening

Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 19:32:44-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — The organizers behind Covington Yard on Friday revealed tantalizing details for the all-in-one entertainment venue opening in Northern Kentucky .

Django Western Taco number three will be going into Covington Yard,” said David Chao, co-owner of Django and restaurant liaison for Covington Yard’s developers. "Covington Yard as a whole will be opening in March."

Josh Niederhelman, a principal at Covcor Real Estate Investments, announced in September he planned to open a food hall consisting of an open court surrounded by six shipping containers and a former fire house in Covington.

"Covington Yard kind of came about as an opportunity for us to create a sense of community for the people in Covington," Niederhelman said at the time. "A lot of residents don't have a backyard or really any yard at all."

Chao said Niederhelman and another Covington Yard business partner, Patrick Dye, approached him and Django Western Taco founder Josh Campbell in September about opening a Django location in one of the shipping containers. Campbell and Chao had just opened a second Django location inside Kroger's Downtown On the Rhine Food Hall on Sept. 25.

The first Django opened in Northside in 2012.

Chao said he and Campbell were sold on the project after Dye and Niederhelman described their concept to him.

"It’s something this city hasn’t seen yet,” Chao said. Detroit is the nearest city with a similar food hall concept: The Detroit Shipping Co., which opened in July 2018.

Chao and Campbell also committed to revive Yard Bird, a restaurant and pop-up concept Campbell launched about 10 years ago.

"We thought, 'What would be cooler than a restaurant called Yard Bird going into a place called Covington Yard?’” Chao said.

He said Django and Yard Bird will offer modified menus at the Covington Yard.

Yard Bird at Covington Yard will serve a signature chicken tender sandwich, tenders, four signature sides including crinkle-cut fries, and five signature sauces. Django’s menu will be limited to just tacos, Chao said.

He said the limited menus reflect Covington Yard's space. Customers will be able to grab their orders from the shipping container restaurants and then eat at one of Covington Yard’s communal tables.

Chao also said Fork & Greens, a Northern Kentucky all vegetarian and vegan food truck, will open its first stationary space inside one of the shipping containers as well.

He added that he and Covington Yard’s owners are currently negotiating with two well-established Cincinnati restaurants to fill the Yard’s last two available spaces.

"I can tell you that they are really, really big names,” he said. “They will help drive business in Covington that will make it (Covington Yard) the space to be."

The Covington Yard development group will operate two bars as well as its own eatery serving sliders.

“There will be a large indoor bar located in the garage with a deck that then drops off into a patio,” Chao said. "There will be an outdoor container bar as well.”

Beyond food and drink, Covington Yard will include a performance stage for live music, event rentals opportunities, a kid- and dog-friendly environment, and in cold weather an insulated tent that will cover the outdoor court for year-round fun, Chao said.

“We’re all about this,” Chao said. “It’s great for the Tri-State area. It gives depth to the region. We’re trying to make ourselves a destination. We want to be that go-to place to have anything."