COVINGTON, Ky. — It might have taken the team behind Covington Yard longer than anticipated to open the outdoor food court made of shipping containers, but the timing could not be more perfect.
"What we have here on site right now is very conscientious of the pandemic and the type of world we are living in," said Josh Niederhelman, project developer for Covington Yard.
Niederhelman announced last September his plans to open Covington Yard on an empty lot at the corner of Greenup and Fourth Streets in Covington. The target date to open the space created through the use of shipping containers originally was sometime in March.
Then came the coronavirus, along with construction and supply line delays. Covington Yard will open to the public at 4 p.m. Friday featuring three local food vendors and one bar operating out of containers, along with permanent bar space.
Those food options include Yard Bird Chicken, Mr. Bolgigi's Korean BBQ and Northside-based Django Western Taco.
"This project was never envisioned to solve a community problem but it really was envisioned to be that backyard community building and social atmosphere," Niederhelman said. "What's actually nice to see is that people have another option to come and socialize in a pandemic and COVID-friendly way."
Covington Yard's COVID-friendly opening includes cutting the occupancy of the food court's communal seating area from a 400-person capacity to 100. Yard games and other activities announced for the original opening have also been put away until the pandemic passes.
That doesn't mean there still is not plenty to eat and enjoy at Covington Yard. General Manager Michael Hoffert said he plans to bring in live music, rent event space and play major league sports games on Covington Yard's multiple televisions.
"We're going to have multiple different things that we are going to start introducing as time goes on," Hoffert said.
He added he wants those events and offerings to cater to a wide group of people.
"It's not just for one crowd," Hoffert said. "It's for everybody."
For those 21-and-older, that includes a selection of 65 varieties of canned beer, 14 taps and a long list of craft cocktails.
"I created a different cocktail with each vendor," Hoffert said. "We started out with Django Taco, which a lot of people know about that. They are up-and-coming."
He added that he's caught the buzz not only when it comes to Django Western Tacos and Covington Yard's cocktail program, but also the excitement about the location's opening.
"The buzz is there," Hoffert said. "And everybody is, you know, like, 'When is it opening?' And, it's coming. And that is what is amazing about it."
For more information, visit covingtonyard.com.