CHICAGO (CBS) — Coronavirus restrictions have put many restaurants in crisis across the state, but this week, many restaurants are trying to make up for the financial carnage with Thanksgiving carry-out.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross had a look Sunday evening on how some restaurants are adapting.
With restaurants not allowed to serve indoors, many are forced to concentrate on the catering and carrying out business. One restaurant in particular, Lexington Betty Smoke House, is adapting to just that for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Like many, Dominique Leach – owner and executive chef at Lexington Betty Smoke House – is doing what she can to keep business going during the pandemic.
“We specialize in smoked meats with soulful sides, and as far as adjusting, we’ve always been good with kind of just like rolling with the punches,” Leach said.
Leach said turkey was not on the menu before the current situation cropped up, but that has changed now.
“I will be smoking about 60,” she said. “We just got a last-minute order from a church to feed 100 people on Thanksgiving Day.”
Leach’s restaurant was born out of a food truck back in 2017, and thrived despite a previous disaster. She said her food truck was set on fire in an act of arson.
But four years later, she got it all back up and running, smoking all sorts of meats.
Over the past 10 months, the business now includes three locations and 15 workers. Like many other businesses, Leach is offering Thanksgiving carry-out.
It will not make up for months of sales declines due to COVID-19 restrictions, but it is providing a badly-needed boost.
“Actually, the response has been so well, we’re actually going to see something close to about a 30 percent increase in sales just in the span of the week – which is, we never see that,” Leach said. “This will be the busiest Thanksgiving on record for us.”
Lexington Betty Smoke House normally does some business during the holidays, but it has blown up with the circumstances of the pandemic.
“The results have been great,” Leach said. “People want to be supportive of small businesses right now, and they’re taking the pandemic very serious, and they want to keep their family safe, so they’re staying home.”
Lexington Betty has locations at 6954 W. North Ave. in the Galewood neighborhood, at the One Eleven Food Hall at 756 E. 111th St. in the Pullman neighborhood, and in the Hyatt Hotel at 1811 W. Harrison St. in the Illinois Medical District.
Last month, the Illinois Restaurant Association estimated 20 percent of food establishments are expected to close permanently because of COVID-19-related economic fallout.
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Source: CBS Chicago