By: Hadley Barndollar, Portsmouth Herald
PORTSMOUTH – As dusk fell on Wednesday evening and a bitter chill covered the Seacoast, one by one, individuals sporadically arrived on foot at the parking lot of the Greenleaf Recreation Center.
They waited patiently outside, in front of a table spread with plastic forks, napkins and a large insulated hot food carrier.
Through the glass doors of the recreation center, Tammy Joslyn, executive director of nonprofit Operation Blessing, would see them, and quickly come outside to serve them a hot meal.
This week's offering was baked chicken, rice, mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes and onions, courtesy of White Heron Coffee and Tea, from their second, and new, cafe location in Eliot, Maine.
The meal distribution, which is scheduled to feed homeless individuals on Wednesday nights at the Greenleaf Recreation Center, is part of a new Seacoast-wide funding initiative called Take Out Hunger.
The organization essentially pays restaurants to cook meals for the food insecure, vulnerable individuals, or places where a need is identified – helping to keep the restaurants afloat financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while simultaneously addressing the growing issue of hunger.
By Kimberly Houghton Union Leader Correspondent
A new COVID-19 revolving loan fund is expected to send about $750,000 to various small businesses throughout the Gate City.
The funding, which will be distributed in the form of low-interest loans, is expected to be available in the next six to eight weeks, according to Tim Cummings, economic development director.
The money will be targeted mostly toward new businesses and minority-owned small businesses throughout Nashua, he said.
“We are going to make a point to prioritize these types of industries, these types of businesses, hopefully to shrink the gap that was there previously,” said Cummings.
By: Hadley Barndollar, Portsmouth Herald
PORTSMOUTH – While working at her bar one night last week, Bethany Hayes' phone lit up with an unexpected FaceTime call.
"Nuh uh," Hayes exclaimed, staring at Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, on her screen.
Having applied to be a recipient of the Barstool Fund, the owner of TJ's Food and Spirits knew what the call meant – that her sports bar would be guaranteed to see the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic
Portnoy's Barstool Fund has raised close to $30 million to support small business owners across the country. So far, the fund has selected 176 businesses to help, Portsmouth's own TJ's now joining the list.
By Kelly Burch, Granite State News Collaborative
In the early days after opening Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern in Wolfeboro in 2017, Eddie Michno was a one-man show. He did all the food prep and brewing, waited on customers, talked to them about the latest offerings and prepared their food.
“It’s funny to go, ‘Remember that?’ then realize we’re going back to that,” Michno said.
The pandemic has dampened business at Burnt Timber, so Michno is trying to get the most out of the fewest number of staff. He has streamlined the restaurant in order to keep his overhead low and ensure that the staff that remain have enough hours to pay their bills.
By: Kyle Stucker, Fosters Daily Democrat
ROCHESTER — The City Council voted Tuesday to table proposed changes to Rochester’s outdoor dining ordinance.
The proposed changes, some of which drew concerns from councilors and business owners earlier this month, will now go back for additional review at the Codes and Ordinances Committee’s Feb. 4 meeting.
Ahead of Tuesday’s unanimous vote to table the changes, Mayor Caroline McCarley suggested the tabling so the committee can “look at staff recommendations and business owner recommendations.”
Some city councilors and business owners have raised concerns about a provision that won’t allow canopies, tents and coverings over dining areas, as well as a provision that denies “live entertainment of any type” without referencing the fact the city will continue to have a special event permit process to allow and regulate that activity.
By: Bob Sanders, New Hampshire Business Review
Some 35 business organizations are behind a Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire effort to push state lawmakers and the governor to back Covid-19 liability protections for companies.
The effort comes before the language of the bill, to be introduced by Sen. Bob Giuda, R-Warren, has been finalized. But it would provide a safe harbor, meaning that a business couldn’t be sued as long as it is following guidelines, he said, but “bad actors” would not be protected.
“The wording will get some massaging,” Giuda told NH Business Review. “But the last thing businesses need now is a frivolous lawsuit that will cost someone 40 or 50 grand just to defend against it. Businesses are doing their part. The least we can do is provide them a safe harbor.”
By: Max Sullivan, Seacoastonline.com
HAMPTON – It was a $61.07 lunch tab for a couple rum runners and a sandwich with fries. The amount on the tip line read $1,000.
“I cried,” said L Street Tavern server and bartender Justine Barnes, who got the tip Dec. 14 while working her day shift. It came from a regular who confided to Barnes during her lunch that her ex-husband had recently died by suicide. Barnes said she, too, had lost her boyfriend to suicide 12 years ago.
The tip came right when Barnes said she needed it. She said she was struggling to afford Christmas gifts, and two weeks ago she was in a car crash that forced her to pay for expensive repairs.
“It provided Christmas presents for my kids,” said Barnes. Mikey, 17, got the computer monitor he had been hoping for, while 19-year-old Haley got the hair straightener she wanted, along with clothes, shoes and things for their bedroom.
L Street owner Jake Magro said Barnes’ tip was the biggest he has ever seen a customer get. He said he has seen many customers give generous tips this season given the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry. He said the tavern has tried to return that generosity this season by donating to the Seacoast Firefighters Toy Bank.
By: Denise J. Wheeler, Seacoastonline.com
Asking area restaurant owners to look back at their year, from their vibrant pasts to this bleak present, is to have them recount a great and terrifying leap over the crevasse coronavirus bore. The economic devastation of COVID-19 on Seacoast restaurants, like those around the world, was immediate, epic and continues to unfold before our eyes. Their livelihood, at this moment, hangs on a thread.
The crisis economically affects not only restaurateurs and their staff, but also the ecosystem surrounding them, including farmers, food purveyors and commercial landlords.
The stimulus package just passed by Congress includes critical aid for small businesses, including restaurants, but, as Peter Egelston, co-owner of the Portsmouth Brewery, points out, it comes late and is by no means a panacea.
By: Evan Mallett
It is no surprise to most people that restaurants have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic relative to other industries. But what most people don’t know is that, because we restaurant folk are accustomed to handling adversity, we are not going to lay down and surrender to this one just because it is all the horrible things we have been hearing for the last 10 months. Yes, universally we are navigating unprecedented, unforgiving times; but we are still navigating, knowing that the world still needs to eat.
At Black Trumpet, we are acutely aware that we provide nourishment and a memorable dining experience for a small percentage of the population. And, while we have pursued every channel we could think of to keep the lights on and the doors open for our own survival, we have also made a significant effort to use the spare time on our hands, that might have otherwise been directed toward the daily operations of a busy restaurant, to nourish the souls of all people - not just those who can afford to dine at Black Trumpet.
By: Ray Duckler, Concord Monitor
When Corey Fletcher arrived at his Depot Street restaurant Monday to view water damage caused by a ruptured hot-water pipe, he knew immediately that a bad year, drawing to a close, had gotten worse.
“I unlocked the door and everywhere there were streams of water,” Fletcher, the owner of the Revival Kitchen and Bar, said. “Water was pouring in, running toward the low spots, through any spot it could find to head downward.”
That just happens to be where the home of Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano is too. Both establishments suffered extensive damage – tiles, drywall and insulation had plummeted from their ceilings to their floors under the weight of water – and are closed for in-house dining for the foreseeable future.