Local Restaurants Left Scrambling

After 9 p.m. Sunday, restaurants such as Guarnieri’s Pizzeria are prohibited from hosting patrons inside the building as Gov. Mike DeWine and health officials work to keep COVID-19 from spreading through the state.
Managing Editor

Local restaurants are bracing for Gov. Mike DeWine’s sweeping order Sunday night, but some admitted they were still in the dark about what exactly to do, adding that they were waiting on word from the Auglaize County Health Department or word from their corporate headquarters.

The governor announced on Sunday that all bars and restaurants in Ohio were to close as of 9 p.m. Sunday until further notice. DeWine is taking a tough stance on trying to stem the coronavirus saying "if we don't take these actions now, it'll be too late."

DeWine said what he called "very drastic action" was prompted by concerns from around the state about crowded bars. He said takeout and delivery would still be allowed. 

While closing dine-ins, restaurants such as Guarnieri’s Pizzeria in downtown St. Marys will be using carry-out to its advantage.

“Obviously sales are going to go down because we sell alcohol, but 12 years ago we started carry-outs and that is what got us to where we are today with the carry-out and delivery,” owner Angie Guarnieri said. “But it’s too fresh right now. Our directive has not yet come from the Auglaize County Health Department. So we have to wait for them to tell us tomorrow what exactly is supposed to happen.”

Guarnieri said business at the pub had been picking up lately, including the live band the business hosts on Fridays and how busy the restaurant was just the day before, despite fears about coronavirus (COVID-19) picking up over the course of the past week. The business’ hours could change on Saturday and Sunday. She said as of Sunday night, she could not make a decision about a change of hours until she finds out more information by the health department and she does not foresee any changes through the first two weeks — assuming the governor’s orders last that long.

“We have a lot of really loyal customers who have always picked up because they like our food,” Guarnieri added about customers using her business’ carry-out. “So that is a positive for us.”

To order carry-out, call 419-394-2244.

Hometown Locker Room Co-Owner Shelby Wiechart said her business will still be open for delivery and carry-out, but added she and her husband, Brad, may keep their business open from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. — when the business is typically closed so the Wiecharts can pick up their children from school or so Shelby can visit her mother at a local nursing home. 

However, schools are closed and nursing homes are restricting a number of visitors so that might change. 

“Our dining was just picking up,” Wiechart added. “Our dine-in the last week had been more than it had ever been before. It’s kind of bad timing.”

Hours, however, will be the same, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the restaurant’s full menu can be found at HometownLockerRoom.com.

Guarnieri added that it was too soon for her to say if her business’ hours will change. Currently, her restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but to make up for lost revenue with the pub being closed, she could open those days. Nothing is definitive, however, as of Sunday night.

Becky Lauth, of JT’s Brew & Grill, said the restaurant will be doing carry-out only from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m with a full menu everyday. 

Other local businesses took to social media after DeWine’s press conference. 

Biggby Coffee announced it will stay open and that patrons can still use its drive-thru or come in and pick up their orders. Just the lobby is restricted.

Buffalo Wild Wings posted links on its Facebook page on how patrons can order online or get their order delivered. For online orders, visit BuffaloWildWings.com and for delivery orders, visit Doordash.com.

The Friendly Tavern will service its customers with pickup orders or delivery from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cash or credit/debit cards accepted.

Guarnieri said other local restaurants may hurt because of the governor’s orders, but she hopes that restaurants rally together and come together as a community.

“There are going to be a lot of other places that are going to be hurting worse than we are, but I would hope that our community — like it has done before — will support each other. Everybody. Everybody gets a little piece of the pie.”