1882 Bar & Grill Soon to Offer Huge Outdoor Seating, Right on the River
1882 Bar & Grill owner, Wendy Smith, said her team was stunned when they went from happily barbecuing delicious meat, veggies and side dishes, to shutting down the restaurant completely.
“I was baffled, it was like a bad dream. It happened so quickly I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. It was hard to believe then and I didn’t think we’d get to this point,” Smith said.
The day before California enacted its statewide shutdown order, Smith closed the restaurant and attached boutique hotel completely.
“It was super scary, I didn’t have a lot of extra money and I had employees that depend on work to survive; they didn’t have savings either. Some people after the fact couldn’t get their unemployment, so that was scary as well. We’re like a family here, just trying to look out for everyone; it was hard to go day to day,” Smith said.
The restaurant, bar and inn have reopened at limited capacity.
Smith recalled feeling devastated at the time of the closure, “…until they started putting out PPP loans and the Resilience Fund it was devastating and super stressful. I didn’t know how I was going to stay afloat,” she said.
None of Smith’s bills were forgiven, so once she was approved for a Resilience Fund loan she used the money to pay for things that had sat for too long and to get back on track.
“A woman [from the Resilience Fund] called me, she was super nice and really helpful, telling me she was going to work hard to get my application approved. I was just like, ‘oh my god, thank you so much, what a huge relief,’” she said.
Smith described the loan process as being pretty simple and said she got immediate assistance from her Resilience Fund representative when she had questions on the application.
After closing for a month, the grill was finally able to reopen for to-go and takeout orders in the first week of April. Now the dining room is also open with tables rearranged for social distance.
“It’s going great,” Smith said of reopening. “People are just starving for getting out and talking to people and being normal. They are very aware that they have to wait, especially to sit outside. I think people are patient and if they aren’t able to wait, they come inside and we can typically seat them right away.”
1882 Bar & Grill has broken ground on a new outdoor seating project building a large patio right on the river.
“I’ve been working on this project for two years. It’s finally here and it’s perfect timing. It’s going to take a couple months to build, I would say by September or October we should be up and running,” Smith said.
As for the lodging side of her business, Smith said that the inn has always been such a boutique destination that she doesn’t envision issues with social distancing. 1882 is fairly picky about who comes through its hotel doors and plans to use the same restrictions they’ve had in place until they return to full capacity some day: no pets, no smoking and only two people per room.
“I felt like the Resilience Fund application was an easy process and a fair, actually very inexpensive way, to borrow money – and that’s hard to come by,” Smith said.
In the future, she sees using the Resilience Fund for further expanding 1882 Bar & Grill and recommends the platform to other small business owners looking for affordable working capital. Smith and her team are happily serving locals and visitors for indoor and outdoor dining as well as to-go orders and are open seven days a week, stop on by for your barbecue fix.