Fast-forward all these years and I have developed one big family. There are still kitchen employees who have been here longer than me, and those who haven't have still been here for a decade or more. We have had many incredible front-of-house staff members along the way, also, many of whom have put in five to ten or more years. Like most restaurant owners and managers, staff becomes family, as most of us see our co-workers more than our families.
I always thought that as long as I worked my butt off and took care of the incredibly hard-working people around me, that nothing could stop this restaurant. I STILL BELIEVE THAT. This has been the hardest stretch of time that I can remember. We’ve been through cars driving into our building in 2018 and 2019 to the point where we had to operate at 50 percent capacity before and we pulled through that. How was this unknown virus going to stop us? Like most restaurants, we have had to lay off staff members not once, but twice during the pandemic. Without real outdoor options and a quiet Broadway, we continue to operate at a loss. The city and state have left us few other options. The sales that we used to do on a single Sunday brunch now equate to a full week’s worth of work. The federal money has dried up for many small businesses, and yet we continue to operate with our future in limbo.
Of course there is. People yearn to gather and eat out again. People love packed restaurants. There is something so lively about it that makes it nearly impossible to describe. The noise, the smells, the smiles. It is that emotional break from reality that we currently all so desperately desire.
I write this on the eve of our restaurant’s 25th anniversary, December 15, 2020, which will never be what I pictured it to be years ago. It was supposed to be a day full of celebrated memories. It was supposed to be a day when we could give thanks to the neighborhood that has supported us for a quarter of a century. It was supposed to be about celebrating all the staff members and family members who made this place tick. Well, it won’t be that. It will be a day of to-go orders and a few brave souls who can bundle up and sit outside on a chilly day. I choose to look forward, stay positive and focus on how we are going to make it another 25 years.
First, we need to do everything we can to reopen society.
While I know we are all over this pandemic, it is so imperative that we do all of the necessary things so that businesses can reopen. This pandemic has brought out the best in so many, and yet there are a few that have to ruin it by letting out their worst. I know that our restaurant is just one small speck of what is going on in the restaurant industry. There are so many affected by this disaster in our supply chain. They all have their own families. I ask that everyone show just a hint of compassion for each other, as you never know whose life has been deeply affected.
The Hornet is located at 76 Broadway and is open for takeout and outdoor seating from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Call 303-777-7676 or visit the Hornet's website for details and online ordering.