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The front of Northside Grill. 

One of Norwood Young America’s favorite restaurants will finally be reopening its doors on October 1. After a long summer of waiting to see what the future held, Northside Grill is ready and excited to see their customers once again. They had a few reasons for the delay, but they can’t wait to see some smiling faces once again.

Like many restaurants this year, Northside shut down in March, though it wasn’t just COVID-19 that caused the doors to shut. CindyAnn Lambright, head chef and co-owner, was recovering from an earlier hospital visit, and without a real idea of the situation going forward, Northside closed down and waited.

“Everybody here had been working very hard, and we really didn’t want to go forward without our head chef,” said Sandi Harms, co-owner of Northside Grill. “It was just a good time to take a break, though we didn’t anticipate it would last this long.”

Once Lambright fully recovered, it was a waiting game. When it became clear that restaurants would be limited for the foreseeable future, Harms and Lambright made the decision to wait it out. Thanks to the community’s support and the general success of the restaurant in its time, this wasn’t too risky a move. There were a few reasons behind staying closed, even with takeout and outdoor seating being eventually allowed.

According to Lambright, most of the sales in Northside are food, with about 20 percent of the total being bar sales. While this makes it sound like takeout would be ideal, this also led to a few problems. Since Northside was known for its quality food, keeping that quality was paramount to customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, due to the closure of meat packing plants around the country, food prices went up. Just to keep up, meals would have to be more expensive in order to keep that quality, which would increase costs with the uncertainty that customers would be interested.

All in all, with these concerns in mind, Northside decided that it would be wiser in the long run to prepare for the future, with the hope that regulations would eventually ease up and costs would return to normal. These decisions weren’t made in a vacuum, either. Harms and Lambright communicated with other restaurant owners and vendors to gauge how they were holding up, which helped them influence their decision.

Without customers in the space, it was ideal to get some renovations started. Any construction work and paint work could be done without interruption of the workers and without disturbing the experience of customers. There’s a new coat of paint, the deck in the back has been refinished, there’s new shelves and counters at the bar, and the cabinets around the restaurant have been redone.

“Typically summer is the slowest time of the year, so we figured if were closed at any point for this, summer was it,” said Lambright.

While Northside will be reopen, there will be a few changes. Due to costs continuing to be increased, items will have a slightly higher price tag than before, though only to mitigate those costs, according to Lambright. To help keep costs lower, the menu has been streamlined, with some favorites returning as occasional specials.

As for takeout, there are a few ideas floating around. The big one right now is a “family-style” takeout, as Lambright dubbed it. Takeout would be ordered ahead of time via phone, and would be picked up in disposable tins, allowing families to reheat the meal upon returning home.

Takeout will be Monday thru Friday from 11am-2pm, with dine-in beginning at 3pm thru 10pm. Saturdays Northside will be open for takeout and dine in from 11am-11pm. Sundays will be closed for the time being.

“We’re excited to be back, we’ve got a lot of community support,” said Lambright.

Reservations will be an option for customers, and the plan is to play it by ear, according to Harms. If they turn out to be busy, they may have to be required. Otherwise, reservations at the door are just fine, or ahead of time to get a guaranteed spot is always an option. So whether you’re just getting takeout for lunch on October 1 or sitting down for dinner, Northside Grill is glad to be back, and can’t wait to see their community.

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