Restaurants all around the Twin Harbors are adapting their operations to continue cooking for their customers through the pandemic. A few are going above and beyond the call.
Gepetto’s, downtown Montesano’s Italian bistro, is serving takeout during regular hours like many other restaurants. But as of this week, they’re also offering free meals and coffee fill-ups to truckers as a thank-you for keeping supply lines moving.
And at Hoquiam Brewing Co., owners Rob Paylor and Patrick Durney offered a “Sing for your Supper” deal in an effort to support struggling local musicians who suddenly have no venue for their art. Last Friday and Saturday, anyone who performed a solo song at the door when picking up a to-go order (and allows HBC to live-stream their performance) got half off any pizza.
In South Bend, Jayden’s German Store & Deli owner Joelle Springer wears all the hats: shelf stocker, cashier, cook, dishwasher, bookkeeper and everything else required to keep things going. Now, she’s also delivering food after hours to those unable to leave home.
In addition, she’s dishing up two-for-one orders of her homemade soups, with the caveat that the customer take the second bowl to someone in need.
“It is important to learn to do better, starting with our own family and environment,” said Springer. “To see and understand the positive impact every single person can have, if they choose to, versus the negative impact of no action.”
She’s quick to point out that other members of South Bend’s community are stepping up to help.
“The solidarity between businesses is amazing,” she said. “I had two other business owners come to me — one buying gift cards, one spending $100 for some ‘buy one, get one free’ sandwiches for customers.”
She’s hoping to keep her specialty grocery and deli open for the duration of the pandemic, but that will depend largely on supplies. She said she has enough for about four to six weeks at this point. “I’ve got a ton of different items in my grocery store, but right now there’s not enough income to make a new order. My Easter order is waiting at the warehouse until I can pay for it,” she said.
“I will take it day by day, week by week.”
At Gene’s Stop & Go, a tiny walk-up eatery in Montesano, management didn’t have to alter the operation much at all to comply with safety measures. But one of the changes she had to make was difficult for owner/operator Ginger Holcomb to stomach.
Before the pandemic, Gene’s had sidewalk chalk, bubbles and games set out for children to play with. The circumstances have forced her to put those things away for the time being.
“It breaks my heart – I always wanted this place to be a hangout for the kids,” she said. “But we want to get through this and succeed.”
Now, she has set up a voucher board for customers who want to do something to help others. People can pay for an extra meal or sweet treat, hand-write whatever it is on a voucher, and post it for someone else to use.
“We recognize that people want to do something. Some can help financially, some can deliver food to people, some can pray. They just need an avenue to do that,” said Holcomb. “We wanted to be that avenue, that middle ground.”
As of Thursday afternoon, customers had covered 25 meals and 15 ice cream cones for their neighbors.
“I’m hoping we all come out better for it in the end,” said Holcomb. “They can’t ban kindness, so here we are.”
If you know of other local businesses doing extraordinary things to serve the Harbor community during this time, please let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.