SOLON, Ohio (WJW) — The hospitality industry is emerging from its toughest period in modern history, and the owners of a local restaurant are giving their employees a big pat on the back, for their hard work during the pandemic.
When COVID-19 reached Ohio in March 2020, the state-mandated shutdown meant that restaurants like 56 Kitchen in Solon were not allowed to provide dine-in service, so the employees rolled up their sleeves and worked to help build the bistro’s carryout business.
General Manager Caitlin Manthey told Fox 8, “We definitely struggled, we had our ups and downs, we did have a lot of fun, we really got to connect as a family because there was such a small group of us working every single day, five days a week. It was a lot of trial and error with takeout, we were really busy, but we overcame it and got through it.”
And after all COVID restrictions were lifted, 56 Kitchen has flourished.
Then, out of the blue, co-owners Izzy Schachner and Jay Leitson revealed that after weathering the storm, they were rewarding their team at 56 Kitchen by giving them a paid vacation between June 27th and July 5th.
“Everybody is so thrilled, we were really caught off guard, so that was super nice and they always take care of us, even if we were struggling during the quarantine, whether it was paying the bills, whatever, they were always willing to help us,” said Manthey.
The owners of 56 Kitchen told the staff there’s a very simple reason why they granted the paid vacation, pointing to their hard work and dedication as major factors in helping the restaurant survive.
The break from work is designed to give employees a chance to re-energize.
“I thought it was really nice of them to recognize that their staff is tired from the last year and a half of doing what they’ve been doing and wanted to give them a little bit of a break from the day in and day out of grinding and getting it done,” said Sous Chef Kyle Hilfer.
With the strange days and nights of the pandemic behind them, the grateful team members at 56 Kitchen are now making plans for their ten day vacation.
“I’m thinking about just looking up the ten most wonderful things to see in Ohio, just kind of hike and travel and see waterfalls, I don’t really know, it’s just going to be a little adventure in itself,” said Caitlin Manthey with a laugh.