Cedar Kitchen perseveres through the current lockdown

·3 min read

The Cedar Kitchen in Tottenham is one of the region’s most popular res-taurants.

Their breakfast and lunch menu always draws a crowd and the excellent food and service brings people back.Like thousands of restaurants across the country, they are struggling to stay afl oat.

The province-wide lock-down has forced dining establishments to close their doors to all but pick up and delivery options.

The long-term consequences of having to close their doors has resulted in many restaurants, possibly in the thousands, across the GTA simply closing for good.

At the Cedar Kitchen, owners Sherri Bailey and Danielle Leslie have adapted to challenging times but it hasn’t been easy.

They have had to change their operating hours and are only open for four days each week.

The dining room had to be cleared of chairs and tables because even though the cu-rent rules are well-known, some people would come into the dining room and take a seat.

A smart business decision several years ago allowee them to buy the building in which they operate the restaurant, so unlike most restaurants they don’t have to pay rent.

“We’ve had to change all our hours and do evenings,” Sherri explained. “Breakfast just doesn’t work for take-out.”

The restaurant was known for their breakfasts and always had a crowd in the mornings.

“We were open before the lock-down with people two metres apart so we went from 24 tables down to 16,” Sherri explained. “It wasn’t too bad, but every time the government came out with a new announcement, people would get scared and stay home for a couple of weeks. They would do it for 14 days then start coming out again. During the yellow alert, it was fi ne - orange was okay but we were only allowed four at a table, but code red was really bad when they were allowing only ten people inside.”

The women were watching the situation closely as it evolved and planned ahead.

“We discussed it before it happened, and what we were going to do,” Danielle explained. “We offer free delivery in the eve-nings in town. We did shut down in the beginning. We had to close for seven weeks.”

The ramifications of lock-down means they have had to reduce staff from 15 employees down to four – and those four are only getting a fraction of the hours they used to get weekly.

For now, the Cedar Kitchen is closed Monday to Wednesday. They are open on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., Fridays they open at 9:00 a.m., and also in early evening, and on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. un-til 2:00 p.m.

While the lock-down is making it difficultfor many people and businesses, Sherri and Danielle are optimistic they can continue to operate until the situation turns around and they can once again open the dining room.

“At this moment we’re covering the cost of just keepingthis place running,” Sherri said, “Be-tween the two of us we can cover our bills. We’ll persevere."

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times