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𝘼𝙣 𝙄𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝘼𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆:

The Garage dining room will close for deep cleaning and renovations after service on Sunday, January 14th. We will continue to offer take-out and delivery directly and through the delivery services while the dining room is undergoing cleaning and some updates. We expect the process to take less than four weeks during which we’ll be in the take-out/delivery-only mode.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗼 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘂𝘀 𝗱𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲?

Please consider us for your take-out and delivery so that we can realize our mission as described below.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝗽𝗶𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗧𝗟𝗗𝗥:

Deep clean, reconfigure dining area, a new and exciting social mission is coming...

The Garage opened just over five years ago in September of 2018 as a BYOB restaurant serving favorites and new menu items from its founding Chef, Lee Krasley. During these past five+ years, we have served our local diners and communities and even our fellow local restaurants in many ways.

𝗗𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝗰𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴:

At five+ years, the physical plant and equipment are ready for a deep clean, equipment deep maintenance, and general refreshing. Time takes a toll on a public physical plant and, as in hotels, five years is about the horizon for a refresh.

When the pandemic landed in our area, we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many local charities, our area’s first responders, local people in need, supporting our peer restaurants when they had to close to disinfect, and supporting both our own and other hospitality workers so that they could keep working and earning and paying their bills. #GarageGivesBack was born and we also consumed a great deal of our own capital cushion in the process of helping others.

As we exited the pandemic at the end of 2021, we were confronted with a “new normal”…

A number of themes landed on us (and our local peer restaurants that you love as well)...

- Dining traffic declined precipitously to the point we had to reduce locally popular staff so that they could go and make the living wages needed to support their families.

- The local code enforcement authority decided to take away our outside seating that was so popular including the picnic area and dining greenhouses.

- A dramatic change in social drinking behavior emerged that significantly reduced bar sales. “Baby Boomers” did not come back to the bar scene after the pandemic and Gen Y and Z are less interested in drinking in general and in particular prefer craft breweries and other tasting rooms or pre-made single-serve drinks over full-service restaurants with bars.

- In general, our locale has become a ghost town after 9 PM. There are no longer the later night patrons who come out to socialize and enjoy live music.

- ...and many other persistent social changes.

𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝗶𝗴𝘂𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺:

In our five+ years, we’ve learned a lot about what folks like and don’t like about the way the Garage is set up and this is a perfect time to make changes while we deep clean and perform equipment upgrades and preventive maintenance. We’d love to hear from our diners as we go and will incorporate the feedback as best we can. Feel free to drop us an email with your thoughts at: info@epicureangarage.com

𝗦𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻:

- Remove the expo service window behind the bar and move that activity to the more traditional place in the back of house.

- Install sliding panels over half wall by the bar to allow for the creation a more separate bar space or opening the Garage as a single event space.

- Remove the bar drink railing and replace with a row of high two-top tables to create a seated area within the bar area.

- Remove the existing soda fountain and relocate it to the front to allow for self-service of sodas/waters and refills.

- Install espresso and coffee station at current soda fountain location to support the new mission outlined below.

- Reconfigure the seating area to support future uses as below.

- Convert the host station to allow for a service counter for better management of payments and self-service ordering when needed to support the below mission.

- Reconfigure the front to allow for a more streamlined fulfillment of to-go/take-out and delivery services like Door Dash, Grub Hub, and Uber Eats.

- Assess the potential to create a retail area for a small grab-and-go family meals and gourmet items shop as part of the below social mission.

𝗔 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻:

There are many challenging changes for the hospitality industry, some as noted above, in the post-COVID “new normal” including: changes in dining behaviors, a challenging economy for us all, increased cost in the food supply channels, increased cost of living which is driving increased cost of labor, and many more…

One challenge that’s also persisted for a long time is that while hospitality businesses are a “go-to” for employing neuro-diverse workers, there is little or no support for business owners who’d like to help employ these populations. As one example, 78% of neurodiverse people, for example, those with autism, are likely to be under or un-employed.

Within the extended Garage leadership team, there are many who are parents or have family who are in the neuro-diverse category and we feel that under- and unemployment situation acutely. With our partnership with Autism Village Foundation, we have always made it a point to try to do better for this population and provide them roles in-house, on food trucks, and wherever we can.

We employ two prep chefs on the autism spectrum, as one example, and we have founded The Epicurean Club at the Historic Flowing Springs Inn with the specific mission to help create vocational training and paths in hospitality for this population.

The new quick service location at 401 and 113 is being designed to allow this population to succeed in vocations there. In a time of a shrinking working-age population and with the changes in attitudes towards work in the Gen Y and Z populations, it also makes practical sense to provide for anyone who is willing and wants to work to be able to contribute.

Now it’s time to take the next big (scary) step…

We are formally announcing that when we complete the above changes, the Garage will open on Tuesday through Friday daytimes for coffee shop and lunch as the host of The Kindness Cafe in partnership with the Autism Village Foundation and The Epicurean Club.

In this format, we will be configured for our local neuro-diverse workers to successfully staff the weekday daytime Kindness Cafe operations and serve our local communities with delicious food and beverages. With each coffee or sandwich you buy, you will be providing a productive and fulfilling vocational path for this population. You will also be helping to create understanding and kindness among neurotypical and neurodiverse folks from our local communities.

This is a big effort and we will need the support of our local communities. So, again, your choice of us for take-out and delivery during this time of reconfiguration and preparation will be critical for us to succeed.

We are asking our local communities to return the favor and give back a bit to the Garage so we can realize this mission. We hope this will resonate with you all.

The bar and the dining room will return to more typical operations on the weekday evenings and weekends once we reopen.

We will be announcing some changes to the menu and service model as we go as we must find ways to make the business work in this new normal where expenses are high across the board and the public is changing it’s preference for service approaches as well. We want our dining service to support our local communities in a time when we are all struggling with economic headwinds and changes in social behaviors.

We sure hope our local fans, peer restaurants, hospitality staff, and everyone in our local communities will join us in our mission to serve great food with great service in a cool space that’s also creating jobs for an underserved population that also wants to work and earn and pay their bills…