It’s been fairly busy day in the back office of Feast today- we’ve been trying to get the finishing touches on the May menu, which will begin a week from today, sure, but we’ve also been laying the groundwork for Mother’s Day. I’ll say this: when we were scrambling last year to make Mother’s Day special from a shuttered restaurant, it was the furthest thing from my mind that we’d ever being doing that again. And yes, there’s better news- society at large is beginning to open up a bit more, people are less terrified and more vaccinated, and there’s a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
But the more conversations I have with my fellow restaurateurs, the more I discover that despite it all, there’s still a painfully long way to go. If you look at social media, you’ll see more help wanted ads from restaurants and bars than you’ve ever seen before. We post ads on Craigslist, and Monster and Indeed and ZipRecruiter. We post them on Facebook and Instagram. And even though it’s the year of that seventeen-year resurgence of the cicada population, all we’re hearing is crickets.
There are two sorts of restaurant people: those who work, and those who work the system. The latter are sprawled on a couch right now watching daytime television as their unemployment checks come in, and the ones who work, when they discovered that, because of the pandemic, they couldn’t, dutifully and resourcefully went out and found other work. Saute cook? No thanks, I’m in the insurance industry now. Server? I got a job with the County.
So even though I don’t know what other restaurants’ books look like right now, I can tell you this about Feast: so far, 2021 is down from 2020 even more than 2020 was down from 2019. Granted, part of the issue now is that we’re losing business to the restaurants whose dining rooms have been open to an ever-more-comfortable clientele. I know we made the choice to stay closed a little longer, and I know that because we waited, we missed that handful of restaurant people who wanted to work but didn’t move to another industry, and now we’re scrambling to at least partially reopen with what inadequately-sized staff we have. My fault. He who hesitates is lost. A stitch in time saves nine. You snooze, you lose. It all sounds familiar. But my hope is that in a couple of weeks’ time, we’ll be partially open, soon to be followed by being open every day but Monday, just like two years ago. We’ll see. I still encourage you to tell your restaurant buddies that we’re potentially worthy restaurant buddies for them.
Meanwhile, we’re making Mother’s Day as special as we can, given the circumstances. There’ll be a wine tasting this Saturday rife with Mom-friendly wines
and you’ve got nine days to to order Mother’s Day food specials as well
We’re still offering our regular menu, and on a day as chockablock with downpours as today is, I can’t think of a better special than the short ribs we’re offering, with wild mushrooms, garlicky broccolini and herb-roasted potatoes. And it’s vacuum-packed, so you can literally freeze a second one for a rainy day.
Next week, you can expect to see a few new dishes on the menu, and a donation trip to Casas Alitas,
and a couple of reminders that you’re running out of time to order for Mother’s Day.
Later this week, you can expect to see a reminder about the wine tasting, and this tidbit: if you’re one of the eighty-odd people who attended the Sunday wine tasting the other day, you’ll recall seeing me sweat, then seeing me tap-dance, then seeing me collapse in a heap (all figuratively, I’m happy to report,) as one of our winemakers completely and totally forgot to show up. He’s since apologized in a big way, and he’s making it right by recording a video of himself talking about the wine, and offering up another chance at tasting the wine as well. We figure weekends are best, so we’ll start pouring the samples, free to those of you who bought the Sunday tasting, and we’ll post a link to Ryan’s chat about, well, Ryan, and Syrah, and Copain, and the Yorkville Highlands. We all make mistakes, but when we do, we try to make amends as well, and Ryan’s doing it in spades. More on that later this week.
Now get out there and watch that rain until you have to run for cover.