We re-opened our doors for indoor ordering on July 13th. It has been amazing and gratifying to see so many of our wonderful longtime customers in person again. There have been tears and memories too frequent to count. So many children I haven’t seen for 18 months that have grown so much. It feels wonderful to see everyone again and also overwhelming — our business has doubled with just the same small crew of staff.
People are constantly asking what happened to all the drawings from children (and adults) that used to grace our walls. We took them all down during our July 4 vacation so we could paint and freshen the space. We also reconfigured things so the flow would be better and give folks the opportunity to space out. We do not have indoor dining currently, but we have six tables available for outdoor dining.
For the first two weeks back, I didn’t bother to wear a mask. Our entire staff was fully vaccinated. Then the Delta variant started to rear its ugly head and I have begun masking up again. Even vaccinated individuals can still catch Covid and transmit it to others. It will most likely be much milder, but even a mild case would put me out of work and close the restaurant until it was safe for me to go back. Also, my beloved cousin just had a baby and the second week of August I will be able to meet her. I will be as safe as possible, because I could never forgive myself if anything happened to this little bundle of joy. I see at least 200 people a day face to face, most don’t wear masks, and I have no way of knowing whether or not they are vaccinated.
Recently, a person I have known since high school came into the restaurant with their boyfriend and young adult child in tow, unmasked. I know none of them are vaccinated — they told me so. She acted offended when I refused a hug. It has been my goal since the beginning of the pandemic to never catch or pass on this virus. I have taken the utmost care at personal, financial and professional cost to ensure that neither I nor my restaurant become a vector of disease.
I know we all want this to be over, that we are ready to move on to normalcy, but the virus now dictates what normal is. Ten people a day ask when they will be allowed to eat inside again. I respond: When I am ready for it. We don’t have a large space and, quite frankly, it is summer in Maine — it’s been lovely; take advantage and eat outside while you can!
In 16 years of business we have encountered many difficulties, but the last year and and a half have presented so many that seemed insurmountable. Our latest challenge is staffing. We have managed to retain all but one staff member during the past 18 months, but now we are losing two counter people this month. We now need a full-time prep/line cook, two full-time counter people and a part-time dishwasher. We offer competitive pay, health benefits for full-time employees, and weekends off. If you or anyone you know is interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until we are fully staffed, we may have abrupt changes in hours of operation. Please check our website, our Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.
- Erin Bruns