Brittany Collins Dean, general manager of Colton's Social House, led the rebranding of the Clovis eatery. Photo by Edward Smith
Written by Edward Smith
One Clovis restaurant is using the pandemic as a time for self-reflection, rebranding itself as a place for guests to receive therapy by way of food and beverage.
Colton’s Social House at the Sierra Vista Mall is set to reopen July 31, but guests on Monday can get a first look at the new patio, interior and brand — as Colton’s Social Therapy.
“We started just kind of reflecting, ‘how does a social house combat with social distancing,’” said Brittany Collins Dean, general manager and co-owner of Colton’s Social House. “We think that connecting with others is as fundamental as the need to eat. And so for us, combating that is this idea of social therapy.”
Staff members came back to work this week for meetings about how to safely serve guests, in addition to how to be a conscientious host in a time of turmoil, said Collins Dean. Of their more-than 50 staff members pre-Covid, 47 have returned.
Part of social therapy includes letting people get back together in safe way, she said.
Without an outdoor dining area, those who wanted Colton’s food would be limited to takeout. But their model didn’t lend itself to that, said Collins Dean. So Colton’s wasn’t open during the shelter-in-place orders. To allow people to eat at the restaurant, owner Jim Souza had their lawn taken out and pavers installed. Rather than hiring contractors, ownership brought Colton’s employees to do the landscaping. Tables and umbrellas are currently being installed. A fleet of swamp coolers as well as misters are also being brought on to keep guests cool.
They submitted a request with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to be able to serve liquor, beer and wine outside. Collins Dean said the approval took less than 24 hours. In addition to their craft cocktails, they will also start filling growlers with craft beer.
The idea for the rebranding came as the crew at Colton’s dwindled from managers doing interior work while they were closed to just herself, Collins Dean said. With time on her own in the restaurant, she worked out new business plans, marketing strategies and even new T-shirt designs. On the inside, they installed new floors, booths and tables as well as new chairs. They put up an illuminated “Social Therapy” logo on the wall to remind guests of their mission statement.
“It was important for us to take a pause and take advantage of the time we had so we could sustain ourselves into the long term and not just try to get through where we were,” said Collins Dean.
Collins Dean started at Colton’s in 2016 as a bartender when the restaurant first opened. She climbed the ranks into the general manager role and eventually became co-owner alongside Souza.
Though July 31 is the first official reopening day, Colton’s will have a “beta run” starting Monday from 4-10 p.m.