The big news today is really the lack thereof. We’re still not open for dine-in. It’s not that we don’t want to reopen- obviously, we’re being more cautious than most, but we had started preparing to reopen the dining room months ago when the autumn surge hit us, and while I’m not in a rush to fling open the doors with another potential Spring Break/Gem Show/St. Patrick’s Day/ Easter/Passover surge, á la Michigan, that may or may not await, we’ve been losing money for 55 weeks and counting now, which is clearly not sustainable. So, yes. We want to let people in. We want to cater birthdays and weddings and graduations. But we also want to keep our Feast family safe, and that’s us, and you, and our families, and yours. And while hoping for the best but planning for the worst, we’re seeking new members to add to our family. As we tiptoe toward reopening, this article has found its way into my inbox no less than three times,
and I’m here to testify firsthand: it’s true.
We’ve lost a couple of people to attrition during the pandemic- people who’ve moved away, or who’ve slung a bag over their shoulder and headed for other industries, never to return to restaurants, or who’ve supplemented their income and found that they suddenly have time with their families and friends who have more conventional schedules. And we’ve replaced none of them, in hopes of spreading the available hours to work among the crew who’s stuck with us throughout this drubbing. And now, with a cautious eye on the plague barometer, we’ve begun to put out the call that we’re staffing up, to get- crickets. A paltry few applicants have come our way, none of whom appears suited to or experienced enough to do what we do here at Feast, and we’re contemplating our options. Maybe we’ll trim our hours, like Kingfisher and Tito & Pep have, or maybe we’ll train some of these underqualified but well-meaning folk, but whatever we do, it won’t happen immediately, and in the meantime it will undoubtedly include explaining hundreds and hundreds of times the answer to the question: “why aren’t you open yet?” The answer is the same answer it’s been for 55 weeks, with the reasoning behind it varying throughout: because we can’t. At least we can’t without sacrificing what’s important to us, be it our health and safety and yours, or be it providing a quality experience when you finally can join us in person, or be it the fact that we, like everyone else since this began, occasionally find ourselves overwhelmed.
Re-opening the dining room whilst making donation runs, converting to takeout and delivery, doing benefits for local organizations, changing our wine tasting formats, creating hub deliveries to outlying communities and doing whatever else we can to remain operational is- let’s call it a challenge.
And in spite of the challenges and the interviews, many of which will undoubtedly go nowhere, we’ve still managed to do what we’ve done each month for the past 239 months- we’ve changed the menu. Today is the first Tuesday in April, and so we offer you a smattering of friendly new dishes, which we present to you here:
We also present a benefit for Child and Family Resources, who celebrates fifty years this year, compared to our paltry twenty, and the deadline to sign up has passed, but if they’re anything like we are, they’ll have some last-minute cancellations, and therefore the opportunity for you to join us this Thursday on Zoom:
Then on Friday, I’ll head over the Primavera Men’s Shelter with four day’s worth of meals for the burgeoning population of people dealing with homelessness on top of the worries of the pandemic:
and we’ll top it off with a wine tasting on Saturday, featuring Kevin’s favorite of all varietals, Picpoul.
There’s more coming, of course. Wine tastings featuring the wines of South Africa, and those of the Sierra Foothills, and a donation of meals to the staff at Banner’s Crisis Response Center.
And other things will happen here, about which we’ll continue to keep you posted. But meanwhile, if you know anyone looking for work as a server, or a saute cook, or the like, have them drop off a resume. We miss you.
the people of Feast