November 29, 2020

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Restaurants remain hopeful during trying times

A continuously updated restaurant and take out order list can be found on the Stevens County Times website here.

In times of trouble, small towns stick together. We support each other and help out as needed. Quite often it is our businesses being called upon to help through benefit donations, food for meals or gifts of time and product. Now it is time for the community to give back to our businesses.

We have passed the second week of the Governor ordered shut-down of dine-in restaurants and bars. Another two weeks have been added to that mandate. In order to keep going, several area restaurants have started a curbside, take-out or delivery method to serve customers. Many saw a surge of support early on but some of that is slowing lately.

Here are some of the hours and menu options for the restaurants in Morris and Hancock that did not have a drive-through in place.

Pizza Ranch

Rob Lucas, owner of the Morris and Glenwood Pizza Ranch Restaurants is doing both take-out and delivery of pizza. They will deliver within a ten-mile radius of the store, which includes the cities of Morris, Donnelly, Cyrus, Hancock and Alberta. If you live further then that, they are able to meet you in any of these towns.

Pizza Ranch laid off 20 employees between the two locations. Lucas stated that they are doing okay but laying off people is something they never thought they would have to do in the food/restaurant industry. “It is not something I would ever want to do again.”

Their special menu for pickup or delivery is available on their website. Their current store hours are from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sun – Thur., and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri. – Sat.

Common Cup

The basic menu is still available for orders at Common Cup. You can find it on the Stevens County Times website or email them at commoncup@hometownsolutions.net to ask about specials.  You can also call them at 320-589-1200 to hear the daily specials. Through April they will be open for take out orders from 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday. 

Ten part-time employees were laid off at the Common Cup. They are taking each day one at a time and are very thankful for customer support. They are planning for the long haul and trying to stay positive.

Fire Side/ Met Lounge

C J and Stacey Fromm of the Fire Side are doing all they can to keep things normal in some small ways. They are offering their normal nightly specials from the Met Lounge and Fire Side, only now it is for take-out only. These can be picked up in the Fire Side after calling in the order.

“It is hard to keep everything on hand just because we are worried about having too much product around in the event that we are not able to continue offering take out,” CJ explained. You can see their menu at themorrisfireside.com and they will be placing a printed menu on each order going out.

Fire Side is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Before the coronavirus, they were not open for lunch or on Mondays but since they are cooking meals for ‘food disadvantaged’ children, they decided to also open up for business.

“We lost all of our employees but that was mostly due to the fact that they were UMM students and left when the campus closed,” CJ added. “We are bringing some back this week who are still around Morris because the support from the community has been enough to justify having some more people working.”

The take out and, perhaps even delivery, has been something that is going so good that they may consider offering it even after the pandemic is over. This is partly because it will be very difficult to build up a staff with college students gone and they may have to change how to do business through the summer.

Detoy’s Family Restaurant

DeToy’s is offering a discounted curbside menu which can be found on Facebook. They will have daily specials posted outside the restaurant and on Facebook. You can also call the restaurant to find out specials. Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m and 4:30 – 6 p.m.; On Saturday and Sunday they are open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Their daily specials include a skillet and toast, Boe sandwich and lunch specials. On Saturday and Sunday you can get either eggs benedict or biscuits and gravy.

Detoy’s had to lay off 13 employees during this time. They will deliver within the city limits if they have time. Just ask when you call-in your order. One of their biggest concerns is how long it will take to get back to ‘normal’ and if they can ever return to ‘normal’ business.

Buddies Bar and Grill

A drive to Hancock may be a good outing for house-bound people and picking up some delicious food can be the purpose of the drive. Last Saturday night, when Buddies ran their weekly Prime Rib special, the phone was ringing off the hook. It is hoped that the support of customers will continue through this self-quarantine time.

Buddies Bar and Grill continues to run their nightly and lunch specials. Some of these include Saturday-Prime Rib, Monday-Spaghetti, Wednesday-Ribs and Friday-Steak and Shrimp. You can also watch Facebook for other specials and to see their entire menu. They are open all week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for take out and off sale. On Sunday the off sale is available from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

Buddies had to lay off about ten employees, keeping on a few cooks and wait staff. Also several employees who have day jobs, lost their second income. They are so thankful for the community and area for doing a good job of keeping them going. In the meantime, owners are working on replacing the dining room floor, painting, deep cleaning and other projects.

Stone’s Throw Cafe

Stone’s Throw is directing customers to their online, downloadable menu on their website at https://stonesthrow.cafe/menu. You can also stop by the restaurant and pick up a paper copy or call 320-585-7000 to hear about soups and specials. Their hours are 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 – 7 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday. 

“At first we were shocked that we were allowed to stay open,” stated Gary Wahl. “Quickly our guests helped us see what an essential service we were providing by offering an alternative to dining in a restaurant. We have also been able to offer free meals to families in need.”

The staff at Stone’s Throw went from three full-time and thirteen part-time to one full-time and six part-time. Several of the staff members were UMM students who left when the college shut down. They have a small staff in the kitchen and front of the house and their baker is working in the restaurant.

Stone’s Throw will deliver within the city limits of Morris. They deliver during lunch and if not too busy, during dinner times. This is a service they offered before the crisis, and will continue to offer after. They are also offering some family-style options to feed a group for less. So far they have a chili meal and brisket with mashed potatoes.

Another unique thing at Stone’s Throw is that they are offering patrons the ability to buy household versions of their Food Safety level disinfectants and other essentials that are in short supply locally this includes the food-grade multi-quat sanitizers for food surfaces and the peroxide sanitizer product developed for Norovirus and effective against the COVID-19 virus.

Don’s Cafe

Marcia Buss at Don’s Cafe wants to thank everybody and especially their loyal patrons who have been coming in for take out orders. They are open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the week and add Friday and Saturday evening hours of 5 to 7:30 p.m. You can find their menu on the Stevens County Times website except they are not including soup at this time. If you call-in your order, they will deliver curbside. 

Don’s has always offered take-out meals and this will continue in the future. They do not offer home delivery at this time, possibly in the future, when they can figure out a way to make it feasible.

They have had to lay off all of their wait staff which includes 13 employees. Marcia stated that she worries about her employees and their families. “We are hoping we can get back to a new normal soo,” Marcia said. “I always thought if I trained my employees right, they would always have jobs in the food industry, this is starting to prove me wrong.”

Mi Mexico remains open for take-out orders.

Old #1 has closed temporarily but reopened on April 8. China Panda is also temporarily closed.

Concerns

Each of the dine-in restaurants has concerns about the future but also are appreciative to their communities and customers. Some of them shared their thoughts. 

“Our biggest concern is that our community stays healthy,” stated Gary Wahl. “Emotionally, we are taking things one day at a time. We are grateful for our loyal patrons and of course our health.”

“As a community, we support each other in a time of crisis and we will get through this,” Marcia Buss stated. “I’m not going to dwell on something I have no control over or the ‘what ifs.’ We will try our best to provide our service to the community now and in the future, so we hope people will bear with us if and when changes are made.”

CJ and Stacey Fromm stated that they are okay but are worried about their children. “They are getting lonely, they really miss their friends and we are thankful that school is starting e-learning so they can see their classmates. We also have a lot of support for the business from the community, as well as a lot of folks checking in on us emotionally.”

Rob Lucas probably summed it up best. “My greatest concern is how this will look on the other side? Will people ‘trust’ going out to eat, going to the movies, congregating together? How will this change us as a society? These are questions we cannot answer at this time, because we don’t know how everything is going to go right now. I feel it will have an impact on what used to be ‘our normal, everyday life.’ This I am sure of, that the effects of COVID-19 will be felt for many years to come.”Times of trouble

Katie Erdman
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