Feeding Our Community—Part 2

By Selma Pierce

Vulnerable businesses

Food is one of the main ways that we connect with people. We celebrate special days with food and fancy spreads. The Governor’s executive orders to limit gatherings of people and to limit the serving of food and beverages on-premises have heavy impacts on our local restaurants, wineries and breweries, and bars, leading to massive lay-offs and unemployment. Yet, these establishments creatively found ways to still serve our community.

Many establishments tried to move to “take-out only.”  In the beginning, it wasn’t so easy.  Some places told me their revenue dipped to 20% of normal, then dipped to 0%.  It is no small task to switch gears.  They had to rework menus, purchase take-out containers, train personnel, and hope for the best, all while trying to social distance.  Scary times when bills for mortgages, loans, rent, vendors, utilities, payroll, maintenance contracts, sanitary supplies, pest control and taxes keep coming.  Scary times when you don’t know if your customers will return or even venture out.  Scary times when you want to keep your employees safe and not lay them off, while still serving your customers and keeping them safe.

As people got used to the idea of take-out only, customers started to come back and support their local eateries. Same food, different presentation. Just as tasty.

Salem Chamber-Salem Eats

To help out our local restaurateurs, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce started a new Facebook page for local restaurants called “Salem Eats.” You can go to this page and see which places are still open for take-out or delivery. Look up your favorite place and give them a call.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JTHjDMCAp2L1bZm60Re6lc1OzSIgHLHg9M0pJoACDbk/htmlview

Monmouth and Independence have similar links on their city pages that tell you if your local favorite place is open or doing take-out.  Treat yourself once in a while.  Help out your neighbor.  Support our local businesses.

City of Independence listings: https://www.downtownindependence.com/covid-19restaurantresourceguide

Monmouth listings: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gSOaXMO-swfAYG0MlPJd3FvcP1lA7c_aMQFRrraAkk4/edit#gid=0

Taproot Lounge and Cafe

Taproot Lounge and Café decided not to go the “take-out only” route.  Instead, they are taking a hiatus and waiting things out.  In the early days after the stay at home order, Taproot sold their inventory at cut-rate prices to the community.  This included fresh produce, dairy, meat, breads, pastries, and beverages.  They even had sold toilet paper at reasonable prices.  Then, they turned around and made facial masks for the community.  Awesome!

Rudy’s Steakhouse

Rudy’s Steakhouse in Salem went with take-out meals.  But they weren’t just thinking of their own needs, they were thinking about the community, and created “Crisis Meals.”  If you were laid off, or medical personnel, or a first responder, you can get a Rudy’s crisis meal for $1, now changed to complimentary.   Same great quality for special people in our community.  To find out more about the crisis meals, go to: https://rudyssteakhouse.com/crisismeals. That’s giving back when things are uncertain.

Churning out Hand Sanitizer

Some breweries switched from brewing their own good stuff to making hand sanitizer.  Hood River Distillers, Shine Distillery, Rogue Spirits, New Deal Distillery, Stone Barn Brandyworks, Rose City Distilling, Aria Gin, Freeland Spirits, Crater Lake Spirits, New Basin Distillery, Oregon Spirit Distillers, and others all have shifted to producing hand sanitizer for medical facilities and food purveyors.

Conclusion

Food is a connector; it connects us still as a community.  As Grandma says, “Food is love.”

That’s how it’s done here in Oregon—band together, help each other out!  If we all pull in different directions, we’ll only go in circles.  If we’re all pulling in the same direction, we’ll go far.  Remember to shop local.  We are all in this together.