DENVER — In a time when many restaurants are closing their doors, Stephen Smith is opening two.
"It hasn’t quite settled in because we just opened on Friday," said Smith while walking around his space. "We still have to get some art on the walls and fix some tables. But I am very proud. So it feels great."
Smith's plans to open a restaurant were thrown into chaos right after he signed the agreement to buy the location in early 2020. With few options, he decided to adapt and plan for the new business landscape during a global pandemic.
"We come from the food truck world. And so that's pretty much flatlined," he said. "Until everyone's vaccinated, and we're on the other side of COVID, there is so much uncertainty."
The restaurant serves slow-cooked meals like those from a crock pot. His concept, he says, is well suited for the current pandemic because the product can be packaged and delivered easily without losing quality or flavor.
"We just made sure we add lids, follow all the CDC protocols, and we're able to still deliver good quality meals at an approachable price point," Smith said. "But as things start to loosen up, I expect to have a full restaurant every day."
He believes that, beyond any strategy in a difficult business environment, the most important thing to focus on is persistence.
"You just can't rest. Especially in the restaurant world," Smith explained. "You can get caught up in just being victim to circumstance versus planning through it."