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Dover's family-friendly take on the classic beer garden opens

Rail Haus

Dover’s first beer garden - Rail Haus - officially debuts this weekend.

Owner Donny Legans says he envisioned his contemporary, family-friendly take on a beer garden after military tours suggested Delaware, and Dover specifically, could benefit from an updated take on the idea.

The interior is 2,500 square feet with overhead doors that can open when the weather’s nice or close for the comfort of customers. The outdoor space is nearly 20,000 square feet with long beer garden-style tables.

Legans concedes there were challenges launching the concept, but he’s confident the community is behind his approach.

"The longer we took, the project actually got better. Ideally we wanted that big push for Oktoberfest, so we just missed it, but either way, the hunger for something like this is still strong and people are still coming out in the rain, in the wind and the cold, people are still supporting it."

Legans explains where he drew his inspiration.

"So there's history behind it, how you brewed, when you brewed, and the reason why we have peat gravel all over, because they used to store the beer underground, and they put peat gravel and chestnut trees on top of it.. So I said why not do some German food as well and it’s not traditional German food, but it’s our spin on it."

Rail Haus’s interior space measures about 2,500 square feet, with overhead doors that can open during nice weather.

The restaurant’s outdoor space is nearly 20,000 square feet with long beer garden-style tables.

Rail Haus is in the long-vacant former Southern States building at 92 N. West St. It currently employs 30 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”.