PHOTOS: Signs of the times
Like most restaurants, WingNutz Bar and Grill is forging a new identity in the face of COVID-19
With last week’s order from Gov. Jared Polis to shut down all dine-in restaurants, many local establishments have been sent reeling.
For WingNutz Bar and Grill owner Grady Hazelton, it has been a kick in the gut, but he knows that everyone is in the same situation.
“We’ve never done delivery before, but now we are doing delivery and take-out. We changed our hours up a little bit so we can operate with less staff,” Hazelton said.
That is one of the most unfortunate parts about it for Hazelton — with business down 50-60% from normal he had to let all his part-time staff go for the time being.
“Some people we just had to say we will see you when this all over,” Hazelton said.
“We try to take care of everybody and take care of our group, but there is only so much we can do,”
Running a staff of 8-10 currently, Hazelton is splitting the hours they are open between the regular fulltime employees, which he said is about half of what they are used to.
Hazelton opened WingNutz back in 2005, and has had a loyal following for nearly a decade-and-a-half now.
“We’ve had employees and customers that have been here since we opened,” Hazelton said.
With last week’s announcement, Hazelton uncovered the old drive-up window that was used by the previous owners of the building.
“All the sudden it came in handy,’ Hazelton said.
Hazelton said he had a feeling that this was coming, and had been prepared for the worst by only ordering 25 percent of his usual food orders in case a full shut down comes from the state.
Working with his customers on whatever they feel confortable with, Hazelton has plenty of options for them, whether it is coming inside the restaurant to pick-up their order, walking it out to them, using the window or delivery.
“We’ve always taken it serious, making sure we wash and sanitize our hands, now we are just doubling up,” Hazelton said.
“We were going to do what we can as long as they let us, and long as we feel safe.”
Photo Essay: Slowing the Spread
Residents and businesses take steps to prevent further outbreak in western Garfield County after two presumptive positives of the novel coronavirus come back in the county. The new social distancing order has all schools, events and gatherings suspended or canceled throughout the county until further notice.
UPDATED: PHOTOS: Scenes from around Garfield County as the community responds to COVID-19
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#PostSnaps for March 8
Photo Essay: Raising the curtain
Activity fills the grand halls and back rooms of the historic Ute Theater long before the acts take the stage for a show.
For New Ute Theatre Society board members, theater staff and volunteers the day begins eight to nine hours before the first note of music fills the art deco theater on Fourth Street in Rifle.
Last Saturday the Ute hosted rock band The Young Dubliners for the fourth year in a row.
Colorado River Valley favorites, the Young Dubs, as some locals like to call them, sold out the venue with nearly 300 patrons packed into the theatre.
“A sold-out crowd is what we are striving for. We want everyone in the Colorado River Valley to know about the Ute,” New Ute Theatre Society board member Tanya Giard said.
“It’s a place where communities can gather and enjoy the nostalgia the Ute offers. The growth in the theater’s popularity means more business for downtown Rifle — the restaurants benefit, the hotels benefit, and therefore the city of Rifle benefits.”
With seven volunteers helping the staff and NUTS board members, the show went off without a hitch.
Ute Manager Wayne Pleasants said The Young Dubliners returned for their biggest show yet at the Ute.
“We received great audience response to the demo Meyer Sound system, and everything came together thanks to staff, volunteers and a great band.”
Working with Snob Productions out of Junction, the theater demoed a new sound system it hopes to purchase and install later this year.
The New Ute Theatre Society will present the next big show Saturday with the Outlaw Country show featuring four bands including, Hogan and Moss, Feeding Giants, The Queen Bee Trio (featuring Aundrea Ware, Joey Ball and Portia Rogers), and The Rust Statler Duo.