By JOSH FRYE
News Staff Writer
After having their doors shut for over two months, two favorite long-time local restaurants reopened to the public for limited dining and takeout on Monday, June 1.
Buster’s and Dixie Catfish opened after being forced to close shop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the reopening of both establishments will come with numerous changes.
According to Buster’s owner Julia Gibbs, the reopening has forced some major changes in daily operations.
“The closing certainly has hurt us,” Gibbs said. “We took the time to make some renovations and improvements that were needed. With money going out, but no money coming in, it was certainly tough, but we are excited to reopen to our customers.”
According to Gibbs, reopening comes with tremendous changes as Buster’s seeks to protect their employees and customers.
The situation is similar for Dixie Catfish owner John Spence.
“We have been shut down for so long,” Spence said. “We have never been shut down like this and it has taken a toll. We are excited to reopen our doors, but some things have changed on the menu.”
For both restaurants, menus and prices have been impacted by rising food costs.
For Dixie Catfish, ribeye steaks have been temporarily removed from the menu.
“Beef prices have sky rocketed,” Spence explained. “We have had to raise the price of our hamburgers and hamburger steaks and ribeye steaks are impossible to get right now.”
Buster’s has also been impacted by the rising costs of beef and other meats, likewise, their menu prices have also changed temporarily.
“We hate going up in price,” Gibbs said. “Unfortunately, it is something that cannot be avoided.”
Both Buster’s and Dixie have also made numerous changes to comply with CDC guidelines for reopening. Buster’s for example, will no longer offer dine-in reusable cups. For dine-in customers, Styrofoam cups will be the new temporary norm.
At both establishments, sneeze guard glass and fewer tables will be available to adhere to social distancing policies. Also, both establishments have discontinued table condiments and will offer disposable packs and plastic cups with coverings instead.
Buster’s has also changed the restaurant public traffic patterns to help protect employees and customers.
“We have limited our front door to an entrance only,” Gibbs said. “Our side door will serve as an exit.”
Gibbs has also put employee foot traffic policies in place to help prevent employees from being too close together.
In addition, some booths have been taped off and chairs have been removed from the round table.
According to both establishment owners, employees will also be required to wear masks and gloves.
“Our employees will all be wearing masks and gloves will be used in the back and out front in certain positions,” Gibbs explained.
Both restaurants are still encouraging take out and phone orders for those who wish not to dine in yet due to the virus.
“It’s a scary situation,” Spence said. “We are glad to be reopening, but we will be taking precautions to help protect our staff and our customers that mean so much to us.”