CALIFORNIA, Ohio (WKRC) — Restaurant owners are trying to come up with plans to reopen their businesses but some were disappointed Monday that plans unveiled by Ohio’s governor did not include restaurants.
Paul Ganim and his family opened Dead Low Brewing on Kellogg Avenue on Oct. 10, 2019, but the business closed to customers on March 15 to abide by orders from the state of Ohio. Since that time, the brewery has offered growlers of beer for sale but not food. This Friday, Dead Low will offer a scaled-back carry-out menu of pizza and wings.
“We’re reinventing the wheel. We’re starting over, unfortunately,” Ganim said. “We didn’t have the luxury of being able to shore up our reserves. We’re operating essentially under a cashflow scenario.”
Dead Low laid off 69 employees and hopes to rehire them. However, with social distancing being required when businesses reopen, capacity will have to be reduced. Ganim said his business was breaking even at 100% capacity before the shutdown.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult to operate at even half capacity,” said Ganim.
Joe Lanni, cofounder of the Thunderdome Restaurant Group, said Currito in Hyde Park reopened for carry-out Monday along with City Bird on Vine Street. Other restaurants, Bakersfield, The Eagle and Pepp & Dolores will reopen this Friday for evening carry-out.
“We just decided let’s get it open,” Lanni said. “Let’s see if we can do a little bit of business, start reconnecting with our vendors and bringing product in.”
Lanni said he was disappointed Monday that there wasn’t more information about when restaurants can reopen for dine-in business.
“I thought we’d get more information than we did, and I am sure more information is coming, but, at the same time, I understand this is such an unprecedented situation that they’re having to deal with,” said Lanni, who added he believes Gov. Mike DeWine has done a good job dealing with the pandemic.
Meanwhile, at Dead Low Brewing, Ganim said he was disappointed restaurants were not included in the initial reopening announcement. He has a large outdoor area that he believes could be used to serve customers safely.
“Our business model requires people coming on-site and sitting down and having a meal and this doesn’t get us any closer to reopening," Ganim said.
Dead Low refers to the lowest point a boat can travel safely in water. The restaurants are moving through uncharted territory. Ganim hopes at they’ll be able to reopen and take advantage of the PPP loan his business received before it’s too late. He’s not sure he will be able to use the forgivable loan before the June 30 deadline.
“We’re living in a new abnormal that we all need to adjust to and I think a lot of businesses are doing their best to change their business models,” Ganim said.