BEAUMONT, Texas — It's no secret that the service industry was hit especially hard. The state lost around 1,000 restaurants every month during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Texas Restaurant Association.
New restaurants have popped up across Southeast Texas, and the owners are taking a chance by opening them amid the pandemic.
And now restaurants, new and old, are counting on your support during restaurant week.
12News reached out to two restaurant owners who say opening their business during a pandemic wasn't an easy process, but you'll never know the outcome until you take the risk.
“When you start a business, no one's really trying to take you seriously,” Kat Attamirano said.
Opening a business during a global pandemic is added pressure, but Sachi's Cakes and Dessert Lab owner Attamirano decided to go for it back in November of 2020.
“How are you opening a business when it's a crisis, but you know sometimes I tell them, Sometimes you find gold in the trash. You know, you find something good out of out of nothing. And I took advantage of it,” Attamirano said.
And she's not alone. Assistant manager Christopher Myers at Walk-On's In Port Arthur also took advantage of the opportunity. They opened in January, well aware of the limitations brought on by the pandemic.
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“So in a normal restaurant opening, you don't think about things like the proper. Disinfecting chemicals for a certain type of virus and you don't really think about what you really need to truly social distance for tables. When you go into an opening you just think ‘okay we're gonna open, we're gonna have a bunch of customers in here we're gonna take care of them,’” Myers said.
Getting customers in was one of the biggest hurdles.
“You know, you can tell somebody that they're going to be safe, all they want but until you prove that in action,” Myers said. “So, we were very hesitant on opening, because of the fact that so many businesses shut down, or you know couldn't open at all.”
But events like restaurant week remind Attamirano and Myers why it was a risk worth taking.
“But then at the end of the day, you know this Restaurant Week is actually a boost for everyone for all of us small business owners to help out,” Attamirano said. As hard as it's been, she says people make it all worthwhile.
“That's what keeps you going. Your community grows, and it becomes your family and Beaumont now is, is home for me,” Attamirano said.
So many Southeast Texas eateries are participating in restaurant week and their specials include "dine in" or to go. Read more about restaurant week here.
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