Local restaurants forge a path forward

Challenges mount during coronavirus-related closures

From R-H staff reports

In accordance with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s order that all restaurants and bars close dining areas in an attempt to stem the coronavirus, local restaurants announced their plans for the upcoming weeks while they are closed to the public.

– Amore Pizza, 1428 US 22, has carryout orders available during regular business hours. Delivery is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reach Amore at 740-335-2580.

– Donatos Pizza, 1211 Columbus Ave., has full menu available through carry-out or drive-thru window. Donatos is operating under regular business hours and can be reached at 740-335-1211.

– McDonald’s of Fayette County, Elm Street and Leesburg Avenue locations, has its full menu available through drive-thru window service. Mobile order curbside pickup is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

– Prime Meats and Deli, 204 W. East St., has carry-out and deli/meat counter service available. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It can be reached at 740-335-1724.

– Rooster’s, 120 Crossings Drive, has carry-out only available and the full menu is available. It can be reached at 740-620-9743 and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

– The Rusty Keg, 1801 Columbus Ave., has curbside pickup and local delivery available. Its menu is based upon availability. The Keg can be reached at 740-335-4534 and 740-335-2769, and is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The last order must be in at 8 p.m.

– Sonic, 2007 Columbus Ave., has unchanged hours and an unchanged menu. The restaurant is open Monday-Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

– Streetside 62, 2007 Columbus Ave., has its full menu, delivery and pickup available. Five free boneless wings will be provided with your order. Streetside can be reached at 740-335-6262.

– The Highland House, 703 Highland Ave., is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Carryout and local delivery are available. There is a limited menu — burgers, fries and pies. Reach The Highland House at 740-335-3490.

– The Willow Restaurant, 203 Glenn Ave., is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The regular menu consists of baked steak and chicken & noodles daily while supplies last. Pie orders require a 24-hour notice. When a $50 gift card is purchased, a $5 bonus gift card will be given to customers. Reach The Willow at 740-335-1468.

– Two Scoops of Sugar, 249 E. Court St., will be open its regular hours with curbside delivery available. There will be a limited menu at this time. The business can be reached at 740-572-1490.

Fayette County Chamber of Commerce President Julie Bolender urged the community to continue to support local restaurants during this difficult time.

“The waters we are navigating now are uncharted. It is of the utmost importance that we take care of each other,” said Bolender. “To that end, the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce is asking everyone to support its member-restaurants as they are immediately and adversely affected by the closing of all dining rooms. We have prepared a comprehensive list of our members, their hours, special deals and contact information.

“While we may not be able to join our friends for a nice dinner, we are able to enjoy a dinner from one of the great restaurants we have come to love. We ask that you continue to think local for any purchase you may need to make, and stay tuned for more information on a gift card program we will be announcing in the coming days. Our chamber member businesses are the backbone of our community and it is truly our turn to support them as we move forward.”

Kelly Smith, co-owner of The Willow Restaurant, said, “we realize that people are going to be looking for comfort food so we plan on having baked steak and chicken and noodles every day. We will have pies available.”

Although the majority of its menu will be available and it will be offering carry-out, limited delivery in-town and curb-side delivery, they will be unable to retain all of the approximately 40 members of their staff during the dine-in shut-downs.

Of those 40 members, approximately half will be unable to work during the shut-down.

Streetside 62 owners, Matt and Molly Pettit, said on Monday they are still planning to be opened the regularly-scheduled hours (11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday) with their full menu, but will be offering a few other options for the community to support the restaurant.

“We are offering delivery for a $5 dollar fee, curbside pick-up, take-out and we also are excited that we have an app with toast takeout,” Matt said. “If people download the app and order with us, they will get $5 dollars off that first order. So if someone wants to order a $5.99 item, they will get it for 99 cents. The app is also easier for the community so they don’t have to wait for the phones to stop being busy to order food. For the $5 dollars off, use the code ‘TAKEOUT5’ during checkout.”

Matt also addressed concerns about a reduction of staff as the restaurant is required to close the sit-in portion of the business. He said that Streetside 62 currently employs about 30 people and he expects at least half will need to seek unemployment over the next few weeks.

“I think it will be at least half of our staff,” Matt said. “The truth is we don’t know until we get a couple more days into this, but I see no possible way that we can keep everyone employed. Even if we get busy with take-out orders there is no possible way. This isn’t just a seven- or 10-day thing, we just don’t know how long it will last. The important thing is that any restaurant in town that can continue to take orders is helping keep residents employed. This is the bad thing about servers though, as they receive a low wage because they rely on tips. So when they go to get unemployment they will not get very good unemployment at all because it is based off a percentage of your wages. That is not helpful to sustain those employees.”

DeWine said what he called “very drastic action” was prompted by concerns from around the state about crowded bars. He said takeout and delivery would still be allowed.

DeWine said he understood the impact on small businesses and steps would be taken to mitigate the suffering.

“What we’ve done this week is drastic action, but we’re taking these steps to save lives,” DeWine tweeted.

The governor said earlier in the day that it was possible that Ohio schools may be closed for the rest of the academic year.

DeWine said he doesn’t know when bars and restaurants will reopen.

“How long this order will be in effect, we don’t frankly know,” DeWine told reporters Sunday afternoon. “It will be in effect as long as it needs to.”

DeWine said he understood the “brutally tough” impact on small businesses and steps would be taken to mitigate the suffering.

“Delay means more people will die,” he said. ”Literally every day we delay, the data clearly shows that more people will die.” More than that, he said, the Ohio health care system “will not hold up” for others with urgent needs, such as those with strokes or heart attacks.

“People will die if we do not do not make these decisions,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said an executive order would be signed to enable workers who do not have paid leave benefits to access unemployment compensation during the emergency. Others steps would help bar and restaurant owners return liquor purchased for holiday or sporting events and to allow businesses and nonprofits help through disaster loans, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Challenges mount during coronavirus-related closures

From R-H staff reports