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The City Journals

How Coronavirus has impacted local Cottonwood Heights restaurants

Apr 27, 2020 10:44AM ● By Cassie Goff

Many local restaurants are having to shut their doors. (Photo courtesy of Cottonwood Heights Café)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

It has been over one month since Salt Lake County issued their Stay at Home order on March 29. Not only were individual residents asked to make changes to their lifestyle, but changes were mandated for businesses as well. In response, many local eateries were forced to shut down or partially close. 

In Cottonwood Heights, many locally-owned restaurants have temporarily closed, including Cottonwood Heights Café, Bout Time Pub & Grub, Root’d Cafe, and Porcupine Pub & Grille. 

“We made the decision to shut our doors to ensure that our employees and the community remain safe during this time,” said Root’d Café Co-owner Sean Steinman. “We opened 6 weeks prior to the new guidance so it was not an easy decision to make.” 

“I shut down my restaurant on March 15th in order to keep workers and customers safe and healthy,” said Cottonwood Heights Café owner Adam Baloch. 

“Being a bar, we opted to close,” said Bout Time Pub & Grub Co-Owner Tali Bruce. “Our six locations are completely closed. We do operate Robintino's of Bountiful and they have been doing a considerable amount of take-out & delivery business. They're doing about 30% of their regular volume. We have a skeleton crew of three running the entire operation.” 

With so many eateries closing, many food industry employees are now out of work. 

“437 employees have been laid off. Only 12 salaried employees were retained temporarily at half pay,” said Porcupine Pub & Grille Bryan O’Meara.

“We've temporarily laid off over 100 people and encouraged them to file for unemployment. Their jobs are there for them if and when we reopen,” Bruce said. “We were moving perishables around and ended up sending home large amounts with each employee.” 

“We had to furlough our employees and they all have their jobs and positions once we know what direction we can go to ensure the safety is there for our employees and patrons,” Steinman said. “We gave away all of our perishable food to our employees. Anything from fish, steak, bread, eggs, produce.” 

Moving forward, many business owners are facing uncertainty, even with potential help from the government. 

“We're nervous,” Bruce said. “We've reached out to our landlords about deferrals but they've not responded. I think they're holding their breath hoping we pay our full rent. We are not in a position to pay it.”

There are many ways for customers to support their favorite restaurants during this time. 

“If everyone could implore our elected representatives to help us get the much needed financial assistance in time to make a difference. We recently had a banker (on a loan we were scheduled to close on tomorrow) ask us to provide our current sales,” O’Meara said.

“Right now, support local businesses by buying gift cards. If they are open for takeout ensure to support them for a couple meals a week! Unfortunately, the ripple effect of COVID-19 will ripple through many towns and small businesses so anything right now helps!” Steinman said.

“Stay in communication with the restaurant and pubs that you love. Behind every brand are real people who are struggling to get by, just like you. They are lifted up when you send a note of encouragement. Even social media posts of support help morale,” Bruce said.

In addition, check to see what your favorite restaurants are doing differently. 

“We are grateful for the love and support that we have seen. We as Root'd are continuing to be Root'd in the Community by offering Virtual Acoustic nights for our social media followers on Instagram every Wednesday night so that people get a taste of "norm" while the world and communities heal during this time,” Steinman said.

For more information on these businesses, visit: Cottonwood Heights Café at cottonwoodheightscafe.netwaiter.com; Bout Time Pub & Grub at bouttimepub.com; Porcupine Pub & Grille at porcupinepub.com; and Root’d at rootdcafe.com

For more information on Cottonwood Heights restaurants, visit the city’s website and search “Restaurant Services during COVID-19” under Business Licensing. (cottonwoodheights.utah.gov/doing-business) 

To support local restaurants within the state, visit: curbsideutah.com or supportutahdining.com.