30 Apr 2020
The Jackson Hole community has made strides to come together during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remarkable efforts have been made by local businesses from sewing face masks for local medical personnel to making hand sanitizer bottles; community business members have stepped up to make these uncertain times a bit more bearable. Now it’s time to flip the question and ask what we can do for our local businesses? Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be interviewing local business owners about the state of affairs in this time of quarantine.
The food industry took a major hit when the world came to a halt. Servers, bartenders and others were furloughed as mandatory closures swept the country. How can we help these restaurants stay afloat?
Most of the restaurants across the valley are still open for takeout and the food is just as good as you remember! While we can no longer dine-in at our favorite restaurants, we can eat the food in the comfort of our own homes. For a full list of restaurants in Jackson Hole providing takeout click here.
If things are hectic at the house and you can’t find time to scoop up some dinner, fret not, delivery options are also available. Restaurants like Bin22, Annie’s and Handfire Pizza are all providing delivery. The list does not end there – for the full list of delivery options click here.
Want to hear some thoughts from a local restaurateur? Here’s a Q&A with local Gavin Fine, owner of Fine Dining Restaurant Group on how he’s looking after his employees and helping keep our community fed.
Stay tuned for how to Shop Local next week.
Questions with Gavin:
Q: You were one of the first in our community to take a proactive approach of closing your restaurants for the health and safety of your staff and diners. Now, a month into closure, how are you feeling and what is Fine Dining doing to support its employees and the community?
GF: How am I feeling? I’d say I oscillate like everyone else between hope and anxiety and I am looking toward a brand new day. However, overall I am feeling good, and really proud of our community and employees. Supporting our staff with communication and resources is top priority. We have been striving to preserve the culture of our business through these closures, and feel there is great opportunity through these challenging times. We hold a call every day, open to all staff, and follow up with an email every night so they feel informed and engaged.
As for our community, we have some challenging weeks ahead to ensure everyone who needs food gets it, and it’s our goal to help ensure immigrant populations, sick, elderly, and our staff have food.
Q: What can our community do to support local restaurants?
GF: There are some great programs going on to support our restaurants, like The Hole Quarantine, and people have been very generous with purchasing gift cards. But here’s the thing: take out business is small dollars right now, it’s more of a community service. The biggest ask of everyone is to do what you’re comfortable with now (gift certificates, take out, etc.), but when the world comes back – please support us!
We work in a very cool industry; its our job to create magical experiences, and this world needs more magic right now. We look forward to the time when we can get back to work, but we understand this might have changed forever the dining out experience.
Q: What are you cooking these days?
GF: I’ve really enjoyed cooking with my boys at home. I’m not a baker, but we made chocolate chip banana bread last weekend. We’ve also been cooking some classics like beef bourguignon and shrimp scampi. We celebrated Passover and Easter with homemade matzo ball soup and duck, lentils and lamb, a classic Italian Easter super.
Q: You are so well connected at a state and national level in terms of what is happening with restaurant owners, chefs, and breweries around the country. Who is an inspiration to you and what is it that they are doing that is helping you with your planning for the future?
GF: I jumped on board as the Wyoming representative for the newly formed Independent Restaurant Coalition. Founded by well known chefs including Tom Colichio, Will Guidara and Jose Andres, this group is working quickly to help ensure there is proper relief for the food and beverage industry at a national level. The restaurant industry employs 15 times that of the airline industry, and we remain closed, so we need a relief package and grants to support these displaced workers. Lots of great work has already been done in quick fashion, but there is more to do.
There have been so many chefs and restaurateurs who have stepped up, but Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen have totally inspired us and what we’re doing to help launch Quarantine Cuisine and get meals and groceries to the people in our community who need it most.
Q: So speaking of, tell us about Quarantine Cuisine.
GF: Quarantine Cuisine was totally developed out of necessity, and we’ve been behind the scenes preparing for it’s launch, as we’re seeing a growing need to get meals and groceries to people. We partnered with Cynthia Hogan, Hole Food Rescue and Jackson Whole Grocer to help provide hot meals and groceries to the sick and in need. We recently received a grant to deep clean our restaurant kitchens so we are prepared to continue to help feed our community in a safe way during these hard times. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks, and we need to get the word out there that there are resources to provide food to those who need it.
I look at it this way, by being able to provide food, we at Fine Dining have a lifeboat, and we want everyone on that lifeboat. We’re doing all we can to make that happen.