Restaurants are a critical part of our economy. They employ about one in every fourteen adults … or at least they did until a couple weeks ago. They have long been the main source of flexible employment for students, entrepreneurs and those chasing the dream (and they provide that flexibility while abiding by wage and employment law).
More than being a critical part of our economy, they are a critical part of our communities. They add that unique flavor to our neighborhoods, giving places for friends to gather and families to relax. They’re the background and infrastructure behind so many of our most treasured memories. Where did you go on your first date with your spouse or partner? I bet it was a restaurant and let’s go double or nothing that you remember which one. Which local spot makes that special something to cure your case of the Mondays? Where do you always bring guests from out of town? What was your family’s go-to restaurant when you were young? Which one goes the extra mile to keep your kids comfortable now that you’re not?
Restaurants provide us with so much joy, so much community and, yes, so much food. But they do it on the thinnest margins, typically 3-5%. That means it’s rarely an opportunity to create more than middle class income for the typical owner/operator and that there is little ability to set funds aside for a rainy day. That is why restaurants are always what we worry most about when rents increase or minimum wages increase. That is why so many restaurants closed their doors during the recession.
As of today, the county guidelines allow restaurants to stay open for takeout and delivery, at some point this may change.
When restaurants close the reality is, many of them will never open again.
All of them have rent to pay, many had to finance their equipment. Making those payments, with little or no revenue coming in – as passionate they may be about their food and their community – as much joy as they take in sharing their craft with us – as heartbreaking as it may be to them – those payments are going to be really hard to make. Could you do that, for months on end, with no promise on when – or if – the situation will improve?
Not everyone can reasonably go out of their homes. Not everyone can afford to eat out. But if you can:
Please, please, please, do whatever you can to support the restaurants you care about.
One of my local favorites, Riverside Sports Bar, has already closed their doors. If I ate my last Whiskey Burger without knowing it, that would be really sad, and more importantly, something missing from our community.
Tonight I’ll be headed to Device. Our brand new community restaurant and taproom that Ken and Melissa have worked so hard to get open, investing so much to create a really special space for our community. I’m not sure what I’ll be ordering yet the Pride of the Pocket Burger, Philly Cheese Steak, Beer Brat & Braised Short Rib Tacos are all calling my name. Ooh, and that Ginger Slaw. Dang, I’m getting hungry and they don’t open until three! Menu & Delivery
Last night we enjoyed an amazing meal from Cacio, where husband and wife pair Jonathan and Katie, wanted to bring their top notch Italian food (seriously, it’s worth a trip) to their local neighborhood. The daily special braised bone-in pork belly chop was a rich, hearty treat (and the bone didn’t even fit in the box!) and the Torchio e Granchio (crab pasta) was bright, spicy and delicious! Menu (order by phone)
The night before we had takeout from A Taste Above, a great local café that makes our favorite sandwich, a really great banh mi. Rich and Ray have worked so hard to listen to the community and over the last couple years developed a really extensive and tasty vegetarian menu as well! Menu & Delivery
Really, truly. If you can, please support our local restaurants. Social distancing is going to end. How sad will we be if we can’t celebrate at our favorite restaurants when it does?
While you’re at it, stock up on great local craft beer from Device, New Helvetia or your favorite local brewery or a favorite local winery like Revolution.