SIDNEY — Local restaurants are taking it day by day after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered for dine-in service to close as a safety precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are adjusting and hoping carry-out orders will sustain them though this difficult time.
The Spot Restaurant, located downtown on South Ohio Avenue, was luckily already set up to easily transition for carry-out only orders, said owner Michael Jannides.
“Our carry-out procedure was pretty well established before all of this,” Jannides said. “For us it wasn’t a big switch, as compared to some other restaurants that it’s not what they normally do. Our menu is geared for this type of service, so we feel very fortunate.”
He told his employees they will be taking it day by day and week by week as “you never know how things will come down.”
Jannides had to lay off a couple of people who either work in the dining room or wash dishes, as the nature of business has changed. Others have been kept on, he said, as he knew drive-thru traffic would pick up. Customers can still go inside to pick up food, but about 95 percent of business is coming through the drive-thru.
“We already had an established online ordering procedure. We had DoorDash already set up so they can order and get their food delivered through DoorDash. If you go to our website, there is also an online ordering button and you can come and pick it up. Or you can do it the traditional way — you can pull in and push the button (at the drive-thru) place your order, or you can call your order in,” Jannides said. “We are just carrying on with what we have been doing, except there is no one in the dining room sitting down and eating.”
Business has been steady over the course of a day, opposed to the usual spike at lunch or dinner time.
“It will be interesting to see how week two goes (since DeWine shut businesses down,)” he said. “Last week, at the beginning of the week after he shut the dining rooms down, there was still a lot of people working from their offices, and the banks were still open. But I still think, with talking to people, they still need to get out of the house and get some air.”
Jannides said he expects business will increase as many people typically obtain meals from restaurants.
“The key figure that I get from the state is that 51% of all food dollars spent is through restaurant or take-out food and that avenue, so to (avoid to) shutting that down all together, I think they are trying to alleviate some of the pressure for the grocery stores,” Jannides said.
A great deal of The Spot’s business also comes from its catering services. All of April and May’s catered events have either been postponed or cancelled, including proms and graduation-related events.
“We are just making the best of the situation and taking it day by day,” Jannides said.
The Spot is open Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant can be reached at 937-492-9181 on at www.thespottoeat.com
Clancy’s Hamburgers, located on Wapakoneta Avenue, has seen a decrease in business, said general manager Darin Klopfenstein.
“It’s been kind of slow, with all of this that’s going on, but the drive-thru has been steady,” he said.
Staffing had to be cut back, so they have been rotating employees to cover shifts and provide hours for workers. Klopfenstein noted it has not been easy to adjust staffing because some days they have been very busy and other days business has been sporadic.
“We just don’t know what is eventually going to happen, but right now (just taking) it day by day,” he said.
Clancy’s is open everyday 6 a.m to 10 p.m.
Festival food stand owner Dan Egbert, who is also the owner of Rolling Hills Skate on East Russell Road, is getting creative to stay in business. His skating rink has been closed along with the first five festivals of the year. To generate income, Egbert has set up and opened his food stand for business in front of his skating rink each day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We started doing it last Wednesday. I own the roller rink and this is what I do all summer long, concession stands, and have been doing it for the last 22 years. Since they closed the rink on me, we can’t be open for business and also closed my first five festivals of the year, and so we thought we would set the food trailers up out front to try to support the rink and at least make the payments the payments through right now while we are running slow. That way we can continue to keep the business when we are allowed to open back up and still be here for the kids and the community,” Egbert said.
Business has been going very well so far, he said. People can stop by Rolling Hills Skate or call 937-492-7587 to place an order. The menu options includes: Philly cheese steaks, jumbo tenderloins, Italian sausage, steak burgers, fresh cut fries, kettle corn, funnel cake, elephant ears, lemon shake ups, Monster energy drinks and water.
“So far we are doing well, and we hope it keeps going like that. We are going to put tape down on the ground or paint on the ground to keep people 6 feet away from each other. You can only ask people to do some much while they are waiting in line,” Egbert said.
Hussey’s Restaurant in Port Jefferson posted on Facebook Friday they sold out of chicken and thanked customers for the support. The restaurant will be open for carryout business on Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Hussey’s can be reached at 937-492-8952.
High Grounds Cafe on Fair Road also announced the business in now be offering free delivery. They are open Monday through Friday 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The business can be reached at 937-210-6356.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.