Eastside restaurants coping with changes during pandemic

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Two local restaurants on the eastside of Lansing have been facing myriad challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 16, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an order that temporarily ended dine-in options for restaurants due to COVID-19. This safety measure was created to protect the people of Michigan, but the impact it has had on these two small restaurants on the has been hard even as things begin to reopen.

“It’s stressful,” said Randy Farlin, a manager of 25 years at Dagwood’s Tavern and Grill on East Kalamazoo Street in Lansing Township.

Farlin said that aside from the required mask mandate, extra cleaning and new disposable paper menus, cutting restaurant hours to save on payroll has been one big change for Dagwood’s. Another challenge the restaurant has been facing is scarcity in supplies.

“As far as menus we didn’t change our menu, but like I said, we can’t get items because the supply chain’s been broke here and there,” Farlin said. “You know they can only manufacture so much stuff at some plants.”

Just down East Kalamazoo Street in Lansing, Eastside Fish Fry & Grill is also facing challenges. Owner Henry Meyer said one of the biggest hurdles the restaurant has had to face is enforcing the mask mandate.

Finding a balance between running the restaurant and enforcing the law has been taxing, he said. The restaurant also raised prices and changed the menu to adjust to changes from its suppliers.  

“It’s really hard to explain to somebody that’s used to paying 10 bucks for a 10-wing dinner and they’ve been paying it for you know five years that all of the sudden you know prices went up,” Meyer said. 

Living in a pandemic is hard, and running a small business during this time doesn’t make it any easier, he said.

“It’s a pain in the neck, but running a business is a pain in the neck right?” Meyer said.

Eastside Fish Fry & Grill owner Henry Meyer talks about the challenges his Lansing restaurant has been facing. Audio by Riz Hatton/Spartan Newsroom