Cannstatter’s reinvents itself during pandemic

Pauline Mann, manager of Cannstatter’s.

Cannstatter’s, like a lot of businesses, has suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bar/restaurant has been shut down since March, and everything inside, from bingo to catered parties in the ballroom, has been canceled.

The annual Irish festival on Memorial Day did not happen, and the Oktoberfest — which attracts more than 10,000 people — will not be taking place on Labor Day weekend. The city, obviously, would never issue a permit for a non-protest crowd of that size during the pandemic.

“This year’s been challenging, but we’re doing OK,” said manager Pauline Mann.

Mann recently completed Community College of Philadelphia’s Power Up Your Business, a 12-week program that was held online.

Chris Hess, the program coordinator, is also on the executive board at Cannstatter’s.

“I learned a lot from it,” Mann said. “You connect with other business owners and coaches. Everyone is in the same boat.”

The program helped lead Cannstatter’s to consider alternatives to the way it does business as the pandemic continues.

“We’re reinventing ourselves,” Mann said of the club, founded in 1873.

Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road, has expanded its outdoor biergarten to Saturdays, in addition to Fridays. It’s open from 5 to 10 p.m., and features food, beer and live music. It’s family friendly, meaning kids are welcome.

The biergarten is capped at 250 people, with social distancing measures in place.

“It’s very relaxing out there,” Mann said. “It’s nice to get something to eat and drink and listen to live music.”

Cannstatter’s has also entered the takeout business. People can call early in the week to place an order for Thursday pickup, with Friday and Saturday hours being considered.

The cost is $15 for an entree, soup, two vegetables and dessert. More items will be added to the takeout menu.

The call-in number is 215-332-0121, with the menu on Cannstatter’s Facebook page and at cannstatter.org. People can sign up for emails about takeout, membership and other news at info@cannstatter.org.

“It took off right from the start,” Mann said of the takeout option.

The next step by Cannstatter’s could be off-site catering, an idea from the Power Up Your Business Program and customer calls. Off-site catering could be available by the end of the month.

“We’re almost there,” Mann said. “We’re creating some menus.”

A classic car show is coming to Cannstatter’s on Saturday, but the near future is up in the air.

The city is prohibiting indoor restaurant dining until at least Sept. 1. Officials will announce on Aug. 21 whether restaurants can reopen then, or have to wait longer.

“We’re hoping to get back to normal,” Mann said, “but we’re planning if we’re not able to.” ••