As we head steadfast into this pandemic winter, it may be helpful to remind ourselves what we are thankful for. And while family, health and employment may top your list, nobody said that pizza, sushi and tall drinks can’t also make a delicious appearance.

But without the hard work of essential restaurant workers in the local, small-scale and family-owned eateries, we wouldn’t be able to dive into a huge bowl of homemade soup or dig into perfectly grilled steaks alongside loved ones without having to prepare, cook and clean up after ourselves.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left no entrepreneurial rock unturned, putting the heat on local joints in order to keep their doors open and grills fired up.

Crow River News chatted with Jake Hosley, the general manager of D. Michael B’s in Albertville about the ongoing impact of the pandemic and state-issued mandates on restaurants in the area.

Q: There are a lot of folks who don’t work in the food industry and don’t understand how hard these past few months have been. How do you describe the impact of COVID-19 to them?

A: “The impact of COVID-19 in the food service industry has been nothing short of devastating. I don’t say that to downplay or minimize the effect it has had on nearly every industry in the country besides Amazon, but I say it emphasizes just how hard our industry was hit. There are over 10,000 restaurants and dining establishments in Minnesota, and most of them already operate on razor thin margins.

“As a result of COVID-19, the majority of the restaurants that have thus far remained open are having to do a high-wire act on those razor thin margins. We are trying to balance ordering food that is frequently out of stock, giving our guests value for their hard-earned money, keeping as many staff members employed as possible while only being able to seat only 50% of our restaurant at a time, and only doing carryout at other times, which offers us just a fraction of what we really need to stay operational.

“Whether it is because of mandates and restrictions, uncertainty of future income, fear of the virus, or a combination of all three, fewer and fewer people are choosing to eat out, and 9% of the employed people in MN depend on them to do so.”

Q: If you could say anything on behalf of the hardworking people in restaurants right now, what would you say?

A: “We want to work! We are not looking for handouts or charity, just an opportunity to work hard, provide community members with an opportunity to relax while we do the cooking, and in turn, continue to provide for our families.”

Q: Why is it so important for locals to keep rallying behind small businesses in the area, rather than just ordering from a fast food chain or other ‘easy’ options?

A: “I don’t think a lot of community members realize just how important small, local businesses are to the fabric of our society. In the 15 years that our restaurant has been in the area we have supported local athletics, arts, charities, churches, and everything in between. We have always believed that while our community is supporting local families by eating here, we should return the favor, and help to create a better future for our youth. When this pandemic is finally behind us, people will still be able to get a cheeseburger for 99 cents, but the ability to support local families who support you right back may not be. That is one of the main reasons it’s so important to order from small, locally owned businesses … your money goes somewhere that means something to real people, it isn’t going to add another zero to a millionaire’s savings account.”

LOCAL RESTAURANTS

Beyond D. Michael B’s, there is a goldmine of places to eat in our area and community groups in the area have rallied together online to compile lists of their favorite local restaurants. As shutdown mandates will likely impact all our beloved small town businesses, ordering meals from these local joints for pick-up or delivery is one simple way to help preserve our area’s character.

Below are some of the local restaurants that folks highlighted within various Facebook community groups. Due to the ever-changing coronavirus situation, check directly with the business to see what dining options are available.

152 Club: Available for drive-thru take-and-bake meal pickup. 5794 Main Ave. NE, Albertville, 763-497-4101, 152club.com

Andy’s Hometown Pizza: Available for pickup or delivery. 6563 Laketowne Place Suite B, Albertville, 763-416-5669, andyshometownepizza.com

Big Bore Barbecue Company: Available for curbside pickup. 10940 4th St. NE, Hanover, 763-777-5933, bigborebarbecue.com

Broaster Catering: Available for pick up for pre-ordered meals. 9957 65th St. NE, Albertville, 763-497-2714, broastercateringmn.com

The Brothers Eatery: Available for takeout. 8230 Bridge St., Rockford, 763-477-0015, thebrotherseatery.net

China Dragon: Available for delivery through GrubHub and Doordash. 11008 61st St NE Suite 1003, Albertville, 315-0604, chinadragonmn.com

Clay’s Restaurant: Available for takeout. 8900 Walnut St., Rockford, 763-777-9473, claysmn.com

Clive’s Roadhouse Rogers: Available for curbside to go. 21390 John Milless Drive, Rogers, 763-951-2842, clivesroadhouse.com/rogers

DiMagio’s Pizza: Available for pickup and delivery. 12818 Main St., Rogers, 763-428-4726, dimagiospizza.com

El Bamba: Available for delivery, takeout and drive-thru. 5986 Main Ave. NE, Albertville, 763-777-9299, elbambamn.com

Family Buffet Chinese Restaurant: Available for carry out. 400 Central Ave E, Unit 10, St. Michael, 763-497-9100, familybuffetmn.com

Greenrock Deli: Available for carry out. 7951 State Highway 55, Rockford, 763-477-5222, greenrockdeli.com

Liberty Restaurant & Bar: Available for curbside pickup. 25 Central Ave E, St. Michael, 497-2001, libertyrestaurantbar.com

Main Street Farmer Eatery: Available for curbside pickup. 21 Main St. S, St. Michael, 763-777-9395, wmainstreetfarmer.com

Maynard’s Restaurant: Available for takeout. 21415 136th Ave., Rogers, 763-428-0700, maynards-rogers.com

Millside Tavern: Available for curbside pickup. 12885 40th St NE St Michael, 763-497-2905, m.facebook.com/Millside-Tavern-361337767273880/

Neighbors Eatery and Saloon: Available for takeout. 5772 Main Ave NE, Albertville, 763-515-6300, neighborsbarandgrill.com

The River Inn of Hanover: Available for pickup. 11220 River Road NE, Hanover, 763-498-7335, riverinnhanover.com

Robert’s Craft Kitchen & Bar: Available for curbside pickup. 500 Highway 55, Medina, 763-478-6661, medinaentertainment.com/roberts-at-medina/

Sakura Express: Available for takeout. 400 Central Ave E, St. Michael, 763-777-9370,  sakuraexpressmn.com

Short or Tall Eatery & Drink Hall: Available for takeout. 21050 135th Avenue N, Rogers, 763-208-3710, shortortall.com

Space Aliens: Available for curbside pickup and delivery. 11166 County Road 37 NE, Albertville, 763-497-6718, spacealiens.com

Villa Bar & Grill: Available for takeout. 11935 59th Pl NE, Albertville, 763-497-4399, villabarandgrill.com

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