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Restaurant Changes Tough On Owners And Customers

By KEITH TAYLOR

RICHMOND, Ky. — Mitch Woodard hasn’t changed his lunch routine in six years.


It will be different beginning Tuesday when Woodard and thousands of other Kentuckians won’t be able to dine in local eating establishments after Gov. Andy Beshear closed all restaurants and bars to in-person traffic because of coronavirus concerns.


Woodard, a regular customer at Danielle’s Country Sandwiches in Richmond, will still order from a limited menu until further notice, but won’t interact with the staff and others during his lunch break.


“It’s going to be a little bit different,” he said Monday. “I always come in to get away from the shop for a little while. Now, I will sit in the car or go back to the shop (to eat).”


The change will be an adjustment for store owners as well. Danielle’s plans to offer a limited menu for curb side pickup and will offer daily specials that will be posted on its Facebook page on a daily basis.


“We’re going to try to do the best we can,” Danielle’s co-owner Krista Renfro said. “We need all of the support that we can get. We’ve got to make the best of the situation.”


She admitted the change will possibly create some financial hardships, but hopes the hit isn’t severe enough to impact daily cash flow.


“It’s fun and you love it, but it’s what pays the bills,” she said.


Much like Danielle’s, Gillum’s Sports Lounge in Richmond also is tweaking its offerings and will adding delivery offered in conjunction with Colonel Delivery, an independent food delivery provider, similar to Grub Hub, in Richmond. Full menu and curb-side pick-up will be offered by Gillum’s.


“They (the customers) will never have to step inside the restaurant or get out of their car,” Gillum’s General Manager Michael Southgate said Monday. “We all taking precautions to stay as healthy and clean as possible. We’re going to try to get everyone’s favorite meal to them.”


Papaleno’s in Berea also plans to offere pickup and plans to add delivery as an option for its customers. The popular Berea establishment plans to offer its full menu to costumers and possibly add delivery in the immediate area.


“It was all shot at us (Monday) morning and this afternoon,” Papaleno’s co-owner Jerome Lewis said. “It was all kind of thrown together at first. We are thinking about delivery if we can pick up a delivery car. We prefer pick-up, curb side and that kind of stuff through all of this. That’s really all we can do.”


Lewis said the business discussed the possible scenario last week and wasn’t surprised by Monday’s announcement by the governor.


“We do a lot of pick-up (orders) anyway,” Lewis said. “We do a lot of pick-up orders on a consistent basis and we’ve offered that service since 1984. It’s something we’re accustomed to (doing).”


Lewis admitted that businesses will “lose revenue” and “it’s inevitable” but hopes once the threat subsides, things will return to normal.


“Things will slow down for a little bit, once it all passes, business will boom (again) when all of this is lifted,” he said. “No small business owner likes to lose revenue, but we’ll do what we have to do. Hopefully it will last for just a couple of weeks.”


Lewis, Renfro and Southgate praised Beshear’s handling of the current crisis and urged citizens to support local businesses.


“I think he has done awesome,” Lewis said. “I commend him and he’s on cue.”

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Keith Taylor
Keith Taylor is an award-winning journalist who has covered Kentucky athletics since 1995. He is the sports editor of Kentucky Today and his work appears in 12 daily newspapers as well as various weekly and web sites throughout the state. Reach him at Keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor 21.

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