Road to Recovery: Restaurant owner believes things will get better despite COVID-19 impact
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS —Like so many successful businesswomen, Marcia Morgan wears many different hats on any given day.
On most days, she greets customers, prepares meals, manages her business and is a problem solver. These days, in the midst of a pandemic that has left its impact on Steamboat Springs’ service-driven economy, she remains positive about the future of the town and her restaurants.
“It’s going to get better,” Morgan said as she prepared for Thursday’s lunch rush. “You know we just have to stay positive, and we just have to follow the guidance, the guidelines from the county health department, and just keep it real.”
Morgan and Joseph Richardson opened Marcia and Joe’s Kitchen in downtown Steamboat Springs in December 2018. The small, family-run restaurant features tacos and burritos, which form the base of a menu that showcases a traditional Jamaican flavor.
The business opened at 912 Lincoln Ave. but recently moved across the street to The Press, where the couple had taken over the kitchen and was serving food inside the downtown bar and live music venue. That was just a few months before restaurants, bars and many other businesses in Steamboat were shut down due to COVID-19 in mid-March.
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“It has affected us dramatically because the sales have gone down — way, way down,” Morgan said. “Basically, it’s been call-in orders, delivery — people are not comfortable wanting to be inside.”
The Press reopened, and Morgan and Richardson started serving food again about three weeks ago. Customers can now get a table inside to enjoy a drink and order food, but Morgan said without live music and the late night crowd, things are slower.
To help make up slowdown in business, the couple took over a kiosk in Old Town Square this spring, opening a second location called Irie Nyammin Café at 635 Lincoln Ave. Morgan said they are hoping to tap into the downtown traffic with a grab-and-go menu that offers breakfast burritos and tacos in the morning and tacos, burritos, veggie wraps, quesadillas, energy bowls and the just-right chili bowl for lunch. The menu also includes hot dogs, Jamaican patties, nachos and spicy jerk wings.
Due to COVID-19, Morgan said she is making adjustments almost daily in an effort to keep up with the changing times.
“We have had to take some stuff off the menu,” Morgan said.
Some of the items that had been popular before the pandemic were removed from the menu because customers where not ordering them, and items better suited for pick up or delivery were added.
Though the new cafe has enjoyed solid walk-by business this summer, she is still uncertain about the future.
“We just have to follow guidance and the guidelines,” Morgan said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be normal ,again. The virus is still spreading in places, … We just have to do what we’re doing now and see how long it’s going to last.”
The Road to Recovery series is part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s ongoing efforts to report on how COVID-19 is impacting Steamboat Springs and Routt County. This series is supported in part by a grant from Google’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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