Chef News

Weird Times Call for Unusual Solutions, According to Work & Class

Work & Class chef/co-owner Dana Rodgrguez celebrates another happy customer.
Work & Class chef/co-owner Dana Rodgrguez celebrates another happy customer. Evan Semón

Keeping revenue flowing into a restaurant and staying in the black is a hard enough task during the best of times, but when customers aren't allowed to dine in to get the full experience of food, service and fun, it's all but impossible. Fun is one of the key components at Work & Class, which chef Dana Rodriguez and her business partner, Tony Maciag, opened in 2014 at 2500 Larimer Street, and at its younger sibling, Super Mega Bien, across the street in the Ramble Hotel.

Rodriguez is doing everything she can to serve and sell food for takeout and delivery until Denver restaurants are allowed to fully reopen on May 11. "We've been here at 4:30 in the morning every day making breakfast burritos," the chef notes, and she and Maciag have converted the Work & Class patio into a walk-up food-service station for both restaurants so that they could close Super Mega Bien completely to remain efficient.

But capturing that sense of fun entailed even more creative thinking, so rather than just sell gift cards at a discount for customers to use once the restaurants reopen, Maciag and Rodriguez came up with more enticing options. There are patio and Monday night buyouts for $500 and $5,000, respectively, and Maciag came up with the idea of sending Rodriguez to cook in people's homes, which will run $1,000 for a group of six people.
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"Wierd times. Good food," at Work & Class.
Evan Semón
But Rodriguez says there had to be something her partner could do, too, even though he's not a chef. Maciag, as it turns out, it an expert car detailer, so you can purchase his car-washing services for $250, all of which will go to the staff — and he'll even show up in a bikini (or at least that's the gag). Rodriguez says they've already sold more party-room buyouts than they originally planned, and as of the afternoon of March 30, they'd also sold a couple of restaurant buyouts. "These are great deals," she points out. "We'll take the hit later, but right now we want to make sure we're doing something for the employees."

Looking out for the safety of staff, employees and themselves is the top priority, she continues, so she's doing everything to make sure everyone stays healthy. "It's hard to keep everyone at a distance, but it's not a joke, so we're making it work,"  the chef says.

And while the menus for the two restaurants have shifted a little to provide the best quality in the food to go, Rodriguez says minimizing food waste is more important than ever. "We're not wasting any food; we have daily specials, and we send some to shelters, and we send some home with employees," she points out — and that goes for toilet paper, too, which Maciag made sure Work & Class was sharing as soon as the shortages hit.

So you can get a bikini car wash, dinner at home from one of the top chefs in the city ("your kitchen, her skills," Work & Class says) or even just gift cards, priced $1 to $1 million, according to the eatery.

Even in the toughest of times, a restaurant can still have a little fun.

Both food and booze menus can be found at the Work & Class and Super Mega Bien websites (all pick-up orders for both restaurants will be handed out at Work & Class). Breakfast burritos are available daily from 8 to 11 a.m., with lunch and dinner offered from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit the Work & Class Facebook page for other updates. Call 303-292-0700 or email [email protected] to place orders.
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation