Local proprietors implement curbside, delivery in addition to staff layoffs to stay in business
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in 18 years in this business,” said Julio’s Grill owner Veronica Valdez, explaining that when Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order last week banning dine-in service at restaurants, she had to lay off 10 employees.
Like many restaurants in Uvalde, Julio’s shifted their business model to include curbside service – a necessary workaround to keep the doors open.
With a surge in community support over the weekend, Valdez said they were able to bring 4 people back on.
“We are trying to make it work,” said Valdez “To keep as many jobs as possible.” After a fire in the restaurant last year that closed them down for repairs for weeks at a time, Valdez said they just reopened for dinner service about a month ago. Now this challenge is in front of them.
She said they are fortunate because they already had a drive-through system in place and didn’t have to create it from scratch.
That’s not the case over at Sunrise Restaurant, where Rosemary Flores says they’ve shifted from a full-service dining room to offering curbside service, take-out, and delivery.
“We’ve seen less customers,” Flores said, commenting that they laid off four employees last week.
During this hard time, Flores said she wishes every business the best.
“We should help one another,” she said. “We all have employees we have to take care of.”
Sunrise Restaurant is offering free delivery with a $25 minimum purchase from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., every day of the week except for when they close for business each Saturday.
In an effort to help seniors, Flores said they’ve decreased their minimum purchase for delivery to a senior citizen to $15.
Los Alamos has also seen a decrease in business, said employee Donaleigh Witt, and they are also utilizing fewer employees.
They are offering curbside and delivery services, with a $25 minimum purchase, Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
With three restaurants in their charge, the operators of SkyWay Entertainment, owners of the Local Fix, Broadway 830 and Hangar 6, were forced to lay off more than 30 workers who make up 70-percent of their workforce, according to restaurant group spokesperson Mark Espinoza.
“I cannot stress enough the impact that is being felt amongst small local businesses across this great nation of ours and certainly right here in Uvalde, Texas,” Espinoza said. “We encourage all residents of Uvalde to visit your locally-owned restaurants and shop your locally-owned retailers as these are hard times for us, but with your support we can come out of this pandemic survivors and therefore continue to employ Uvalde residents and continue our legacy in this beloved community of ours.”
Residents can order delivery and take-out from the Broadway 830 and the Local Fix. The Hangar 6 Air Cafe is closed until April 3 for facility upgrades, according to their website.
Broadway 830 is operating from noon to 8 p.m. daily, delivering food items, beer, and margaritas. The Local Fix is open from 7 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.
Helping the community and employees as much as possible during this time while offering goods and services seems to be a touchstone. It is a feeling echoed by The Open Range Bakery and Cafe co-owner Jenny Esau.
“We are less busy because people are staying home, and we are happy that they are, as we don’t want this to situation to become worse,” Esau said. “But we also want to help people, and offer our services as much as possible.”
Their operation includes offering curbside pick-up and take-out of their full menu. They are also expanding their frozen ready-made meal selections.
“We are trying to keep the freezer stocked with casseroles and sides like mac and cheese and gourmet potatoes,” Esau said. Each item comes with reheating instructions, and different sizes are available. On Saturday, she said, they added meatloaf to their selections and it sold out.
Esau says they have not had to lay-off any employees, just make adjustments to scheduling. The restaurant opened in August, and is owned and operated by family.
Golden Dragon owner Tuyen Tran said they will be offering to-go orders only for the time being. She said on Tuesday that they will soon evaluate if the business will stay open, as business has been slow.
For Town House Restaurant and Jack’s Steak House owner Juan Martinez, the hardest thing so far has been to see so many full-time workers not get their hours.
Martinez is running both his restaurants with a skeleton crew and has reduced his hours of operation. He said they are accepting call-in orders at both locations, and patrons can either walk in and pick them up, or they will bring orders to the vehicle.
Martinez said he also understands the hardships first responders face in obtaining food provisions. He is giving them the opportunity to obtain basic items from the larder at Town House.
First responders can stop by Town House Restaurant to purchase at retail cost basic provisions such as toilet paper, rice, beans, some proteins as available such as chicken, and sugar. Town House is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Jack’s Steak House is serving dinner only from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Operating with about 20 percent of their staff, and with a closed dining room, Oasis Outback also chose to honor first responders by giving away free barbecue plates on Saturday, said staff member Yvonne Hernandez.
She also said that with the closure of the dining room they’re offering patrons several options for ordering, including call-ahead ordering, drive-up ordering at the window, and online ordering for pick-up, Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday until 4 p.m
There are additional area restaurants now offering a version of curbside, take-out or delivery as reported on their Facebook pages.
They include Lunkers Grill, 810 E. Main St., curbside service from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m; Evett’s BBQ, 301 E. Main St., curbside and take-out, from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.; El Herradero De Jalisco, two locations, 1408 N. Getty and 224 W. Main, drive-through and curbside service, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Golden Chick, 728 E. Main St., 10:30 a.m to 9 p.m, seven days a week; New Vasquez Restaurant, from 11 a.m to 9 p.m, Monday through Saturday; Taco Bliss, 735 W. Main St., Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m,, Friday until 9 p.m. and Saturday until 5 p.m.