Boise Idaho Restaurants Downtown

Boise Idaho Restaurants Downtown – Chad Johnson, owner of Reef, The Brickyard Steakhouse and The Front Door Taphouse, says his businesses generated 30 percent to 57 percent of their gross revenue last year.

BOISE, Idaho — Will Hay, co-owner of Spacebar Arcade in downtown Boise, practices yoga and tries to follow Taoist teachings — accepting the ebbs and flows of life as they come. Lately it has become more difficult because there are more ebbs than flows.

Boise Idaho Restaurants Downtown

Corona virus (pandemic) This disease (pandemic) has spread across the country (or continent). After nine months of curtailing operations and reduced revenue, restaurants and pubs face the threat of rapid closure without more government support.

Boise, Idaho Restaurant Hi Res Stock Photography And Images

“The downtown corridor, all those bars and restaurants are really struggling to stay open,” said Katie Baker, executive director of FARE Idaho, an independent food and beverage trade group. “I think they’re trying to hold on to whatever they can hope for at this point.”

According to the National Restaurant Association, bars and restaurants are in “economic freefall” in the US. More than 110,000 restaurants across the country, or 17%, have been permanently or long-term closed since March. According to a November survey by the National Restaurant Association, 87 percent of full-service restaurants (independent, chain and franchise) reported an average 36 percent drop in sales revenue.

In Idaho, food preparation and service occupations were among the top sectors for new jobless claims. Businesses accounted for 8 percent of the state’s share of new jobless claims and 11 percent in the five-week period from late October to November.

Chad Johnson, owner of Reef’s downtown locations, The Brickyard Steakhouse and The Front Door Taphouse, told the Idaho Press that those businesses accounted for between 30 percent and 57 percent of total revenue last year.

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Local industry representatives point to several reasons for the drop in customers: colder weather, downtown businesses vacating offices in favor of remote work, and government mandates limiting what businesses restaurants and bars can do.

While there is a general feeling among food and beverage owners that government health mandates are necessary to keep customers and employees safe, the reality is that those regulations are bad for business. For example, an Ada County health order requires indoor pubs and restaurants to be limited to 50% capacity.

Many downtown Boise restaurant and bar owners suspect they are losing business to other Treasure Valley cities with less stringent regulations. In Nampa, bar and restaurant patrons are not required to wear face masks. In Meridian, the Central District Health Policy applies, but the Meridian Police Department does not, as does the Boise Police Department. There are also positivity rates and perceived risk of being public. Ada County leads the state in total cases of Covid-19 and a recent Central District Health Advisory warned that cases are on the rise.

“When that health advisory came out, it shut us down as a restaurant industry in downtown Boise,” Johnson said. “You have an increase in cases and people are afraid to come out.”

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Johnson isn’t opposed to COVID-19 safety practices — in fact, he favors a statewide mask mandate and his business has signed a “food and drink safe” pledge — but the lack of consistency in the two major counties’ protocols. Treasure Valley. , Ada and Canyon, “is crazy,” he said.

“We do what we can; It’s the right thing to do, it’s the responsible thing to do, and that’s not what our colleagues are doing,” Johnson said. “We have to come together and align because we will only do this if everyone plays their part. It’s easy to say, but hard to do.”

Meanwhile, much of the usual downtown lunch crowd — mainly office workers — evaporated as companies shifted to full remote work or suspended office hours. The phenomenon is not only affecting restaurants, but also places like JD’s Bodega, a popular lunch spot for snacks and sandwiches.

The cold weather didn’t help either. Staying outdoors, where people are safe from the virus, is no longer an option.

West Idaho Street In Historic Downtown Boise, Idaho, Usa Stock Photo

On November 30, Funky Taco, a local restaurant, posted on Facebook that “due to a recent increase in viruses and a dramatic decline in business downtown,” the restaurant will be closing its dine-in service and instead offering dine-in only. Batch order.

“The next three to six months will be very difficult for small businesses in and around Boise, unfortunately we are not alone,” the post said.

Nicholas Jones, owner of Good Burger, a local restaurant chain, chose to close his downtown location last month, opting instead to operate a drive-thru location elsewhere, the Boisedave and Idaho Statesman reported. “I’m not sure downtown will come back anytime soon,” Jones told the Statesman.

RELATED: Gov. Brad Little announces Idaho will remain in Phase 2, focusing on local mandates to issue statewide mandates

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Many downtown businesses could follow suit — by ceasing to offer some or all services — unless steps are taken to provide government aid before the end of this year, according to Baker.

“I’m very concerned, I would say everyone should be, that we’re going to lose a lot of businesses downtown if we don’t get any help for small businesses,” Baker said.

Restaurants are particularly vulnerable to the financial impact of COVID-19. Because they are typically subject to higher food and labor costs, as well as, in many cases, higher rents, the average restaurant owner has only 16 days of cash on hand in a typical year, according to the National Restaurant Association.

One ray of hope is the federal Restaurant Act. The law would create $120 billion in grant funds for independent restaurants and bars nationwide to cover wages, rent and personal protective equipment, among other things.

Sidewalk Cafe On N 8th Street In The Early Evening, Historic Downtown Boise, Idaho, Usa Stock Photo

The program is different from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in that grants will be offered against loans and the money will come directly from the U.S. Treasury, Baker said. PPP loans are facilitated by banks and guaranteed by the US. Small Business Administration.

“The Restaurant Act would be extremely beneficial in preserving and/or saving many, many small, independent restaurants, bars and nightclubs,” Johnson said.

The Idaho Press requested comment from Idaho’s congressional delegation and Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. A response was received from Russ Fulcher’s spokesperson. Crapo spokeswoman Lindsay Northern said Tuesday that it was unclear whether the restaurant legislation would get a vote, but parts of it could be included in a larger bipartisan stimulus bill being debated, which Crapo would support.

Fulcher said in an emailed statement: “I deeply sympathize with these industries affected during the pandemic and believe the best way to support the restaurant and hospitality industry is to unlock $137.5 billion in untapped PPP funds. Over the past 4 months, COVID-19 relief Nancy Pelosi is holding a hostage to use as a bargaining chip in negotiations.”

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Johnson said the PPP provides a temporary solution to the restaurant’s problems and applies only to certain costs — not including personal protective equipment — but “yes, it would be welcome.”

If Congress doesn’t reach a resolution before the holiday adjournment, restaurants won’t get help until next year, which could be too late for many small businesses, Baker said.

Meanwhile, He said he was concerned about his eight employees at Spacebar Arcade, who were “being put at risk as we try to operate financially”.

“We have gone through PPP funding and we are trying to survive until we get some more help from the government,” Hay said.

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He and his business partner, Zach Rowland, are considering another business opportunity – a screen printing business – if the bar is to close. Grass can also be certified to teach yoga classes. But try to stay positive.

“I try not to be there,” he said. “Of course I’m thinking about it. There’s been a lot of sleepless nights over the last few months, but the only thing you can do is get up every day and take those steps forward and try to get through it.”

He fears the city center could lose its vibrancy if it doesn’t get support soon from the government, as well as local diners and shoppers.

“It’s going to take a long time to rebuild, and I don’t know that many small businesses like ours, mom-and-pop shops, will ever come back downtown,” he said. “A lot of downtown is comprised of these local people who have tried to make Boise a vibrant community, and we want to continue to do that for them. We could really use their support right now. “

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Ryan Suppe is the Boise City and Treasure Valley business reporter for the Idaho Press. Contact him at 208-344-2055 (3038). Follow him on Twitter @salsuppe.

Here, we focus our news on facts and not on the fear surrounding the virus. To see our full coverage, visit

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