As restaurants around Colorado continue going back to the drawing board in the face of COVID-19 restrictions, the Wild Corgi Pub picked an easy new target: deep-fried nostalgia.
Recognizing the many stoned, hungry potential customers in the Capitol Hill neighborhood late at night, the Corgi has been selling "stoner packages" to delivery and takeout customers, pairing carnival, pub and childhood favorites into $20 delivery orders. The packages feature combinations of such items as fried cheese curds, churros, fried Snickers, smoked wings, tater-tot nachos, fried pickles and more, and each order comes with both a Capri Sun and a Hi-C juice box.
While live drag shows and LGBTQ charity auctions — both Corgi mainstays before the pandemic — aren't currently an option for bringing in business, co-owner Dusty Jones says that late-night eaters have been helping the restaurant stay afloat. The stoner-box project started over the summer after some staff brainstorming, and the Corgi recently doubled the number of munchie combinations available from four to eight.
"We had to switch really hard during the pandemic from being a service bar and restaurant to to-go and try and capture that market," Jones explains. "The [stoner boxes] were kind of a joke between my staff and I. We wanted something quick and easy, but that didn't require a lot of brain power...and the Hi-Cs and Capri Suns are a little nostalgic."
The Corgi has also partnered with the staff's favorite dispensary, Verde Natural, to name the eight orders after Verde strains. Jones's personal favorite? The Super Lemon Haze, a combination of six smoked (then fried) Buffalo chicken wings, fried pickles, ranch dressing and fried Oreos, along with the two standard drinks to wash it all down. Our favorites are the Strawberry Cough (two pulled-pork sliders, chili cheese fries, Sour Patch kids and the Capri/Hi-C combo) and the Mimosa, which comes with six Thai peanut wings, potstickers, churros and the juice boxes.
Verde chief marketing officer John Wilhelm wasn't aware of the stoner combos until the Corgi approached the dispensary about naming the combinations after the store's cannabis offerings, but he quickly got on board.
“We think it’s a brilliant idea," he says. "We have a lot of love for the team at Wild Corgi. They are a solid member of the community.”
The Corgi offers other boxed meal options and family-style combinations for to-go and takeout, but Jones says the stoner boxes "have done a much better job."
Even so, Jones says the boxes alone aren't nearly enough to keep his staff together during the pandemic, and he isn't optimistic about the Corgi's other revenue options while Denver is at Level Red and in-person dining is banned in the city. He hopes to reopen the place by spring, not just for meals, but also entertainment. In the meantime, he's focusing on to-go.
“I’ve had to let employees go, but we’re very proud to be open,” he says. “It’s scary, because you don’t know how long this is going to last, but I hope we can get through it.”
Each stoner pack is $20 and can be purchased for takeout or delivery on Postmates, Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. The restaurant has plans to begin its own delivery service within Cap Hil as well, Jones says.
Find more information on the Wild Corgi website.