Food service in Rutherford County is a whole new world.
Most restaurants have closed their dining rooms under orders from Gov. Roy Cooper in light of the coronavirus, but are continuing curbside to-go orders and home delivery.
Lee Harrill, who has deli service at Drop-In stores on East Main, Forest City, 828-245-1252; Shiloh, 828 -245-9056; and Sandy Mush, 828-247-8802, said the amount of business has not changed but the hours have. "We're closing earlier so we can clean everything and wipe everything down. People are buying more earlier. Especially at our Shiloh store, I can't tell you how many people have thanked us for being open. It's tough for some of those folks to get into town. Folks who work the trades are still out there and we're still serving breakfast and lunch, and of course, if they get there early enough, they can get something for supper, too."
Moe's Barbecue on East Main Street in Forest City at 828-229-3383 is doing curbside to-go and home delivery for orders of $40 or more. So far, Moe's has not had to cut staff.
According to Lilianna Elias, El Michoacan Mexican Restaurant, 828- 229-3297 on Main Street, Forest City has not had to cut staff after closing its dining room. "They're rotating us in, two people at a time, so we're not getting as much work, but nobody has had to be laid off." El Michoacan is filling to-go orders and delivering within a five-mile radius of Forest City.
Big Dave's Family Seafood on Oak Street in Forest City at 828- 245-9844 is doing to go orders only. Jason Godfrey said Big Dave's has had to cut staff by 80 percent.
Olive Tree on Center Street in Rutherfordton, 828-287-9459, is down to half staff. To-go orders are still happening according to Ruby Limerick, and some limited deliveries are being made.
Mi Pueblito in Rutherfordton, 828-286-2860, has not had to cut staff, according to Jose Chavez, and is considering deliveries on large orders of "maybe eight to ten meals." To-go orders are staying steady.
Mi Pueblito in Forest City, 828-288-3600, is filling to-go orders and will cater for groups of 15 or more. There has been a reduction in staff.
Barley's Taproom on West Main Street in Spindale, 828-288-8388 is providing curbside to-go orders and some deliveries. Barley's Linette Gosnell said there is no minimum order for deliveries. "Right now we're taking what we can get. We're not going all the way to Ellenboro, but we are delivering mostly in Spindale, Rutherfordton and Forest City. We also deliver beer and growlers."
Staff hours have been cut at Barley's, but "mostly on a volunteer basis. Our support staff, people bussing tables and stuff like that are gone, but they'll be back as soon as this is over and we're back booming."
At Slim's Bar and Grill on Powell Street in Forest City, 828-382-0283, "things are going pretty well. We've got good business. People can come in and get orders to-go," according to Gillian Germack.
The Shake Shop on West Main in Spindale, 828-286-4792 is making deliveries on first shift with no fee, but charging $5 on second shift. The fee goes to the drivers. Also to-go orders are available. "Business is pretty good," according to Jessica Williams.
Scoggins Seafood and Steak House, 828-287-3167, is filling to-go orders and providing curbside service. Some deliveries are being made, but not many customers are asking for deliveries.
Greene's Cafe on West Main in Forest City, 828-245-8283, is providing to-go orders, but no deliveries. Jamie Roberts said there is "confusion about what to do. The fast food restaurants have drive-in windows and we don't have that. But people can walk in and pick up to-go orders. Our regular customers are sticking with us, but this confusion is bad."
Rob Burbank of Main Street Market in Rutherfordton, 828-395-2233 says he and his wife, Beth, will continue to handle to-go orders and have kept most of their staff. The recent drive-thru farmer's success was a huge success and it will happen again on April 4, this coming Saturday.
According to Judy Russell at Smith's Drug in Forest City, 828-245-4591, the biggest inspiration has come from customer loyalty.
"We know they could be eating at home, or at a fast food restaurant, but they have really stuck with us and these waitresses who have been with us for years," Russell said. "One man came in yesterday, placed an eight dollar order and left a 50 dollar tip, which he said to split among the waitresses."
Smith's has also extended hours "They can now get breakfast, lunch and dinner here," Russell said. Curbside service is also available from the pharmacy.
Russell added, "We've always thought of our customers and staff as a family. We are really seeing how true that is now."
Don Ramon on Oak Street in Forest City 828-245-3979 is offering to-go orders, but no home delivery. Staff has been cut according to Luis Garcia who said they are down to two in the kitchen and three filling to-go orders, but he expressed gratitude to the public for continued business.
Copper Penny, which has locations in both Forest City, 828-229-3330, and Rutherfordton, 828-395-2042 has laid off close to 100 employees, but Shelly Graf, who owns the restaurants along with her husband, Paul, said, "As soon as we open back up, all those jobs will be back. I'm optimistic. I'm in touch with all local restaurants and we're all about following the rules with social distancing and moving our dining rooms around. We'll still be providing take out to older people, but we are ready to serve younger people."
The Pie Safe, 828-263-6212, in the old bank building on Main Street, Forest City is doing to-go orders only and no deliveries. Ashley Webb said they have not had to reduce staff.
According to Louie at Louie's Cafe on Powell Street in Forest City 828-247-9008 business is a little slow, but "We're doing okay." To-go orders are staying steady and DoorDash will deliver if customers need a delivery.
At the Drop-In Deli on West Main Street in Forest City, 828-245-7689, business has dropped off, but manager Melissa Metz says they are hanging in there.
Mario Hernandez of Mario's Italian, 828-202-5424 on Hardin Road in Forest City says he fears an imminent mandatory closure. "It's happened in New York, and I figure it will happen here." He said, business has fallen off at his place to the point that it really doesn't pay to stay open.
Please support all our local businesses, restaurants and more. If you would like to be added to this list email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-248-1408.