Sunday Profile: Dani Carballo serves customers and community at EAT Bistro & Drinks | PostIndependent.com
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Sunday Profile: Dani Carballo serves customers and community at EAT Bistro & Drinks

EAT Bistro server Dani Carballo outside the downtown New Castle restaurant.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Although eating out has come to a halt, Dani Carballo is doing all she can to provide customers with a sense of normalcy.

These days, the EAT Bistro & Drinks server takes orders over the phone, bags up food and constantly sanitizes pens, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

“It’s difficult,” Carballo said. “You don’t feel like you can make as much connection.”

Since March 17, a statewide public health order has prohibited eateries from offering sit-down service in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.  

Along New Castle’s Main Street, establishments like EAT Bistro & Drinks have had to rely entirely on revenue generated from to-go orders.

Prior to the pandemic, EAT, with the exception of a few soups and desserts, did not offer to-go food. 

While Carballo can’t bring hot plates of lobster mac-n-cheese to diners inside, she can still serve customers the hearty entrée to go.

“We’ve been so lucky to have such wonderful patrons that really care about the business and want us to survive,” Carballo said. “I’m just really appreciative that the community has embraced us so much.”

From the Front Range to the service industry’s frontlines

In 2010, Carballo decided to trade in Aurora’s hustle and bustle for the Roaring Fork River Valley’s serene settings. 

“Living in this valley, most everybody finds themselves at a restaurant job,” Carballo said.

From waiting tables at The Artisan in Snowmass to bartending at the Woody Creek Tavern, Carballo has earned a living serving others.

“We get to know people’s lives,” Carballo said. “What they’re like, what their kids are like and what their family is like when they bring them in.”

When COVID-19 started appearing in headlines across the country, at first, Carballo didn’t know what to make of the news.

Carballo, who also studies nursing at Colorado Mountain College, took the disease seriously but was unaware of how serious the situation would get.

“I didn’t realize we were going to have to shut down cities, states and countries in order to, sort of, get it under control,” Carballo said. “In some ways, this virus may show us how important it is to love your neighbor.”

The Offering

Carballo originally met EAT’s owners Molly Mogavero and Jeff Ellis while walking her two Australian shepherds through New Castle.

“She’s just a blessing right now,” Mogavero said of Carballo. 

Mogavero and Ellis’ passion for home-cooked meals, handcrafted cocktails and most of all community inspired Carballo to start working at EAT a little over a month ago.

“I adore the whole operation,” Carballo said. “I’ve always appreciated how community-oriented they are.”

Every morning, outside of EAT, Mogavero and Ellis have set out everything from baguettes to quiche for anyone in need during the pandemic. 

“Maybe it just puts a smile on someone’s face because it’s homemade and it’s made with love,” Mogavero said. “We call it the offering.”

Mogavero said that just because grocery stores remain open, doesn’t mean everyone has a paycheck to purchase groceries. 

For Mogavero and Ellis, meeting the needs of the community has and always will be EAT Bistro & Drinks’ core ingredient. 

“We’re going to continue to work until the government tells us we can’t,” Mogavero said.mabennett@postindependent.com


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