Folks in the Park Hill neighborhood know Tables, at 2267 Kearney Street, for its seasonal dishes, long wine list and owners Amy and Dustin Barrett, who have operated their inviting restaurant for the past fifteen years. Some fans will even remember that the Barretts started out making sandwiches before turning Tables into a more upscale dinner destination about a year after opening.
Well, those sandwiches are back — and in the same styles as those on the original 2005 menu. Amy Barrett explains that she and her husband are reintroducing lunch hours because they can only serve a limited number of customers in the dining room and patio until coronavirus restrictions are eased. "Who knows when that's going to happen or how soon this is going to end," she states. "My feeling is that it's going to last a while, and with opening at half capacity, we needed to find more ways to add revenue."
Back in the mid-2000s, the story was just the opposite. "At the beginning, it was just Dustin and I," Barrett recalls. "We made our own mayo, our own grain mustard. We tried to do lunch and dinner, but the revenue from five lunches equaled one dinner, and we were working eighty hours a week. So for the last fourteen years we've done dinner only."
But with nearly three months of takeout-only service and a slow return to welcoming guests back into the restaurant, something else was needed. "Really, at this point, it's a matter of survival," the co-owner adds. "We're all in the same storm, but in different boats."
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Tables received a Payroll Protection Plan loan from the federal government at the beginning of the crisis, but that meant bringing back employees before the restaurant could fully reopen and using the money within eight weeks. The plan has since been adjusted to give business owners more time to use the money, but that only happened after the Barretts had already used up their money. So the staff is currently small. And even with a permit from the city to expand the restaurant's patio into the parking lot to the north, the couple is waiting to add more outdoor seating until they can hire more employees.
So bringing sandwiches back didn't come under the best of circumstances, but for neighbors the news is good. The Barretts named most of their lunch items after the neighborhood and its streets; one of the top sellers has been the Monaco, a sourdough sandwich filled with turkey, brie, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, spinach and pesto. There's also the Forest French Toast, which Barrett describes as similar to a battered and pan-fried Monte Cristo, only loaded with ham, cheddar, bacon and tomato and served with honey-maple spread. An egg salad sandwich that was once named after Smiley Middle School has been renamed the McAuliffe (to match the new name of the school).
To make things easier for customers, Tables has added a chalkboard menu and an order counter for takeout; it's made from the tin and wood of an old farmhouse trough to match the "shabby chic" decor of the restaurant. Lunch is being served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with dinner hours from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on the same days. Call 303-388-0299 to place an order or to make reservations.