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Rail Haus on track with new take on a beer garden

Rail Haus

Dover's first beer garden appears on track after six months.

The Rail Haus opened in November, a tough time to start an open-air approach to a restaurant.

But owner Donny Legans was prepared with fire pits, heaters and plenty of activities to keep the place warm - and his contemporary, family-friendly take on a beer garden seems to be clicking.

"The beauty about Dover is there’s so many different groups here, so you can’t just focus on one - you really can have your pick of the litter. We try to be a big tent - everybody’s welcome here. We made it through wintertime and it was pretty lucrative."

Legans’ “big tent” approach includes families - there's a large play area for the kids.

"I love seeing them run around when the train is coming - they're chasing the train at the fence. To me, that’s the ultimate level of ‘We made it here’, because the kids are here - the families feel comfortable bringing their kids here, and they do it often - it’s not just a one-time thing - this is their place."

The Raul Haus filled the long-vacant former Southern States site at 92 N. West St. with 2,500 square feet of interior space -- and nearly 20,000 square feet outdoors with long beer garden-style tables.

It also employs over 40 people.

Karl Lengel has worked in the lively arts as an actor, announcer, manager, director, administrator and teacher. In broadcast, he has accumulated three decades of on-air experience, most recently in New Orleans as WWNO’s anchor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a host for the broadcast/podcast “Louisiana Considered”.