Restaurants in the Time of Covid: Reunion19
Imagine that you've spent years honing your chef skills, saving money, gathering investors planning to open a restaurant. Finally, you open the restaurant, hire a PR company, and anticipate the rush of customers discovering your new venture.
Now imagine that just as you open, a global pandemic starts, you're forced to shut down, and all that first wave of publicity you were counting on to help your community discover you counts for naught. Sickening, right? As if opening and operating a restaurant isn't hard enough already.
Such was the situation that presented itself to Christian Haydostian in March of last year. Christopher opened a California-style taco restaurant in East Austin, which is plenty bold already given Texan's pride in Tex-Mex and 'interior' Mexican cuisine.
Despite such odds, Reunion19 has not only managed to survive, but has also somehow found resources to give back to the community in significant (and largely unheralded) ways.
Each day, restaurant staff deliver food care parcels that are then distributed to the homeless in Austin - as many as 1100 parcels per week. With such generosity of spirit, you can't help but root for - and support! - Christopher and his team.
Restaurant owners and staff have been financially devastated through the pandemic. I know from personal experience that few work harder than restaurant kitchen staff. And that servers invariably live off their tips week-to-week. We must all do whatever we can do to support restaurants in our own neighborhoods. If we don't they won't be there when the pandemic eventually ends - and how much will we miss them then?
Reunion 19 1700 East 2nd Street Austin TX 78702
Images shot for Texas Monthly.