Can you believe it has been nine weeks since the shut down? As Memorial Day weekend approaches, I can’t help but reminisce on years past... prepping for the big BBQ, soccer tournaments, parades and more.
This year looks a lot different and causes me great angst to remember what should be. And, it weighs heavy on all of us here at the '76er.
Just like you, we worry about our love ones – our friends, colleagues, patrons, wineries, vendors and farmers. These people are like family to us.
They are an integral part in providing the freshest ingredients to our community and we couldn't achieve our mission without them. As always, we try our best to source local, sustainable, quality products when and wherever possible. Like you, we recognize the value in knowing where a meal comes from.
Unfortunately, due to the current environment, we have had to reduce our ordering significantly, putting a strain on our partner farmers and vendors. In addition, we are now competing with the general public on meat rations, and grocery store sourcing has posed additional issues.
While I am glad to see there is a cultural shift in wanting to know where your food comes from, unfortunately, it directly impacts our costs to you. The restaurant industry runs on such tight margins and there is not much room for COVID-19 inflation or running a restaurant at 25% capacity.
In these uncertain times it's easy to be negative and want to give up. It would be so much easier to quit. The Lord knows I’ve thought about it once or twice. But, we have something special here at 1776 and that's what keeps me going.
My soul aches for those who had no choice but to quit on their dreams because of this COVID-19 shutdown. I know how hard we all have worked to navigate this, but, unfortunately, time has taken its toll. No industry can sustain this shutdown and we are approaching the time where ours may not recover. I would be lying if I told you we weren't far behind...
In spite of this, there are many things going on behind the scenes to try and get restaurants reopened: moving to reopen in a different phase, opening outdoor dining space, and even changing legislation to allow more funding. I pray all these efforts aren’t in vain and we can move towards reopening as safely and as soon as possible.
We appreciate the trust and care you instill in us to keep you and your family safe, and we are eternally grateful to you for continuing to order curbside carryout. It not only supports the immediate 1776 family, but the extended 1776 family as well ... allowing us to place another order with our local farmers and vendors each week. Know when you dine with us, you are helping your community.
I ask that you please continue to do so. Please continue to keep your dollars in our community, where it matters. Think twice before you spend it in a neighboring county or state. Although tempting, I think your '76er family and your county are worth the wait.
• Rhienna McClain Trevino is the owner of Crystal Lake's 1776 Restaurant.