Opening a Restaurant During a Pandemic: Crowsfoot Smokehaus

Officially open to the public on October 16th, 2020, Crowfoot Smokehaus is the newest addition to Conestogo and the surrounding community. Built on the grounds of the old Black Forest Inn, this smokehouse offers traditional smoked barbecue foods with a German twist. 

This restaurant opened, and spent a lot of time preparing to open during the current COVID-19 pandemic. When asked if it was ever considered to push back the opening of Crowsfoot, manager Cassandra Cavasin said that “Crowsfoot has been over two yers in the making, and we already had so many delays due to COVID in the spring. As risky as it is to open a restaurant during a pandemic we knew that we couldn’t push back the opening anymore than we already did.” 

Manager Lindsay Shields also added, “The restaurant build was delayed for a few months because of COVID, and while we were set to hopefully open in the spring/summer, it was pushed back to October.”

“We never thought that we should delay the opening because of COVID though, as we were 100% certain that we could follow proper protocols to keep all staff and guests safe. It was a long time in the making, and everyone was excited to see it come to fruition.” 

Opening during a pandemic where everything is still so uncertain and constantly changing comes with many difficulties to make sure that all staff members and guests are safe while visiting. 

“The most difficult part about opening a restaurant during a pandemic was making sure that we could do it safely,” Cavasin said.

“This meant making sure the proper COVID protocols in place such as table spacing, plexiglass between booths and high contact areas such as the host stand, and that we had systems in place to make sure these protocols were strictly followed.” 

Tables are spaced for safe distancing in the main dining room at Crowsfoot. Photo by Amelia Rozomiak.

In addition to wanting keep everyone safe, Shields adds that “The most difficult part about opening a restaurant during a pandemic would be wondering if the public would be on board, and come to the restaurant and keep us busy.”

With fully booked seating every weekend so far since opening, the public has had a very positive reaction to this new restaurant.  

Some of the most popular menu items include the smoked meat platters, with a variety of meats smoked on site as well traditional german dishes such as jaeger schnitzel with a side of spatzle. 

When asked about the menu Cavasin said, “Our goal is to support local farmers in the region by sourcing ingredients and food from them.” Some of these locally sourced items include the majority of produce and meats. 

Welcome sign outside of Crowsfoot Photo Taken by Amelia Rozomiak

As well as having a restaurant, Crowsfoot has an on-site general store stocked with a variety of locally sourced products, produce and everyday essentials.

For more information on Crowsfoot Smokehaus visit their website: