Covington businesses take time to renovate, restart during pandemic

Dee Felice opens market; McK's BBQ rebrands, remodels
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Posted at 10:21 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 23:21:14-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — Dee Felice Market opened two weeks ago, but its owners are no strangers to Mainstrasse.

Shelly DeFelice-Nelson and Patrick Nelson, whose Covington business has been around 36 years, transformed part of the Dee Felice Cafe into a market over the last three months.

"Other things were moved around,” Patrick explained. “Refrigerators were purchased and brought in. Before we knew it, we had a grocery store."

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Shelly DeFelice-Nelson and Patrick Nelson, owners of Dee Felice Cafe and its new market.

Shelly said the newly-arranged space fills another need.

“We love this neighborhood. We've been here a long time as business owners, to be a part of the customer service kind of thing,” she said.

Ashley Theissen, who lives just a few blocks away, said she likes being able to come get a few groceries without traveling far. She said she moved back to Mainstrasse because of its walkability.

“‘Oh, we don't have this for dinner,’ and not having to get in the car and leave -- that's exactly what we want,” she said.

Resident Ben Hergert agreed, saying it's just nice to be able to pick up a few items from a local spot.

“It’s really important. This area has developed a bit of a food desert beyond the restaurants and bars," he said.

The market is stocked with fresh produce, wine and other essentials -- “what the neighborhood has been missing the most," Theissen said.

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McK's BBQ, located on West Seventh Street in Covington.

Not far on West Seventh Street, McK’s BBQ, formerly McK's Chicks, is serving up meat by the quarter-pound, and you can smell the barbecue from outside.

"Once you open your nose out there, we want to open your eyes when you walk through the door here,” said manager Howard Blakey.

The smells and daily “smoke signals” are their signature advertising. After all, where there’s smoke...

"People are like, ‘oh my God, I smelled it. You guys are open? Oh my God, why didn't y'all say something?’” Blakey said.

The eight-month renovation at McK’s brought fresh paint outside, new decor, four tables and some rebranding.

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Howard Blakey, manager at McK's BBQ in Covington.

"You see how beautiful the place is,” he said. “It's that rustic, ‘oh, come get that barbecue’ feeling. You know?"

Blakey said McK's is ready for its grand opening next week.

“I want to thank all our regulars for being patient," he said. "I can’t wait to be able to see most of them again, again and again."

Business owners in Covington explain they're embracing the city's momentum to fill a need.

"We've seen a big change here," Shelly said. "It's really exciting to see it take the good turn that it is, the residents moving in here."