By Maggie Berkvist
By late December, we at WestView News felt the recent congressional stimulus package was not going to begin to cover our West Village restaurants’ needs, and that we should try to do something to help by publicizing the problem and, hopefully, come up with some serious alternative support systems closer to home.
We wrote to several neighborhood spots, asking them to provide their input by telling us:
- How they had been managing
- The difficulties/financial burden involved
- Their plans for the future
- What solutions they would suggest to help our neighborhood’s restaurants and bars stay afloat.
In response we received an eloquent piece from Laurence Edelman, chef and co-owner of Left Bank (at Greenwich and Perry Streets), just in time for the January issue, and held the following two responses for this month.
Georgia Danalis of Bus Stop Cafe (Hudson & Bethune Streets):
How you’ve been managing to keep Bus Stop Cafe open so far—the difficulties/financial burden involved: First and foremost, we are a no-frills restaurant. We stick to who we are and focus on the customers, locals, and the neighborhood that appreciates us and has given us tremendous support and love. We exist because of them! Financially, we got by with the PPP which allowed us to stay afloat for a bit. Another way we were able to last was by cutting down our hours of operation and other expenses.
How much longer you imagine you can keep going: We take each day as it comes, so we really do not know how much longer we can keep going. The struggle with the continuously changing rules and regulations makes it extremely difficult. The industry itself is always changing, and in a time like this, things become even more unpredictable—the weather, the amount of people dining out, the time/day, new rules.
What solutions you would suggest to help this neighborhood’s restaurants and bars stay afloat! The number-one suggestion is financial support—additional financial aid that will keep us going needs to be sent. Another area of support would be in city promotions or initiatives for people to order from us or come to our outdoor seating. Ultimately, it comes down to the city needing to bring people back here.
Lou Rudy of Hudson Hound:
I’m in Pennsylvania at a lake house, so I haven’t been checking on many things, as we are closed until inside seating is allowed again. Delivery is not an option for us as we would lose more each day as opposed to being closed completely.
Basically, at Hudson Hound, West Village, we are just hanging on. Our landlord has been amazing about working with us but unless there is financial support from the government we will have to make some hard decisions. We cannot survive on 25 percent occupancy and no outside seating. We are going to stay closed for a bit and see what is happening in the spring. Decisions are no longer on a monthly basis; they are weekly. We have been a part of the community since September, 2000, and recently celebrated 20 years of West Village love, but it is becoming more and more difficult each passing day. We have opened Hudson Hound, Jersey City, where limited indoor seating is still allowed and options are much better. As a community, I’m not sure what we can do to support each other besides sharing advice/knowledge of our own experiences and maybe learning from others how best to navigate the devastating state of the restaurant business.
Thank you so much for the picture you sent. I love it. Simpler times. I really appreciate your concern for us and, most importantly, your concern for the West Village as I love it so much, as you do. Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to stay put and continue to serve our West Village family.