A Message From Mike
A long-winded message from the owner.
“Masks, sanitizer, distance. Wash hands. Did I remember my mask? What are the rules outside? What should I do if I have to sneeze? Shoot, I have to sneeze. Plug my nose and hold it. Don’t touch your face, don’t touch your face. Lord, my face itches. How do I itch my face? Can my kids get it? There’s a high probability they can’t. But it doesn’t mean they won’t. My throat tickles…should I cough? Am I allowed to cough? Okay, I’m going to cough. *cough* Sanitize my hands, sanitize my arm, sanitize my face….my sanitizer smells like my grandfather’s moonshine.”
Is your inner monologue sounding like mine? That’s alright, you’re doing great! Listen…. you’re doing great. This whole situation that we find ourselves in has been so surreal and weird, so scary and often intimidating. For some, life changing. For some, life-affirming. So, take it easy on yourselves.
On March 15th 2020, Betula Restaurant shut its doors to our community, to our friends, to our suppliers, and to our employees. We hunkered down with our families, our room-mates, our parents, and some unfortunately, all alone.
As the country began the process of healing, we as a restaurant started to as well. We started to open up, step by step. We started with take out. Passing bags filled with deliciousness through the small window of our kitchen and making sure orders were paid for over the phone. The community reached out. Always tipping more than necessary and always playing safe. Some bought gift cards they had no intention of gifting.
When the lockdown started to lift, we transitioned our front room to a small market, where we could help keep our community topped up with our deliciousness, as well as our fabulous wines, craft cocktails, pantry items, essentials and PPE. We put arrows with red tape on the floor. We washed our hands relentlessly with harsh antibacterial hand soap. We sanitized. Then we sanitized again. “Did you sanitize that? Better sanitize it.”
Then some good news. We’d be allowed to open a patio in our small garden space in the backyard. Employees expressed interest in coming back to work. We made some small investments to make the back yard “dine-able”. Hamilton City Council then said some restaurants weren’t allowed patios and we were one of them. Two and a half weeks later, Hamilton City Council said we were able to open a patio, so we did. We bought face masks from our sous-chef’s mother, who had taken time out of her day to sew them. We took the names and numbers of all parties who came to dine. We continued to wash our beat-up hands with that same pink soap (I guess pink makes it seem less harsh). We sanitized. Ohhh, did we sanitize. “Did you spray that seat?” “No one sat there.” “Better sanitize it.”
On July 24th, as numbers across the country continued to fall, we got news from the government. We would be allowed to accept our community back into the restaurant to dine.
It had been 132 days since we had the opportunity to serve a member of our community inside the restaurant.
We wear our masks. We keep our distance. We fill spray bottles with sanitizer and place them all over the restaurant. We have strict rules and regulations in place to keep both our staff and community safe. Our hands sting from the pink soap and sanitizer, but that’s okay, we’re a tough bunch.
It’s all so strange but yet wonderfully familiar. Some may still be scared, and don’t worry we see you; we feel you; we respect you and we miss you. Hey, there’s always take-out right? When you’re ready to venture out again, we’ll be here with burgers, schnitzels and tacos. Craft beers and ciders from the area. Small batch wines from around the globe and thoughtful cocktails to get you through to the other side.
We’re so proud of the country that we are lucky enough to live in and so proud of the community we get to call home.
So, until we see you again, stay safe, try to be happy and for god’s sake, don’t forget your mask in the car!