With all staff in masks, a roof overhead on most of its patio area, people started to arrive at The Steel Plow Burger Company shortly after 11 a.m. Friday for lunch. It was 70 degrees with a decent breeze amid sunny skies.
General manager Laura Paton was expecting a typical Friday as she surveyed the patio out back.
"We are hoping to do some pretty good sales tonight," she said, later identifying that as $5,000-$6,000. "We can fill this whole patio, and then our outdoor patio."
On Friday, Illinois bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen to outdoor seating, with social distancing measures in place.
The large area under the roof with open doors/full windows normally has several more tables, that would be packed pre-COVID-19. But now they are easily six feet apart, per state requirements.
"We were doing very well," Paton said of pre-COVID days. And she was thinking it would continue Friday night. "It would be pretty much a normal Friday. That's our goal."
She believes it can happen after a post on Facebook about Steel Plow reopening already had 17,000 views.
"We're definitely excited about it," Paton said, noting the restaurant/bar has been ready for a while, having kept its staff working since reopening April 21 for curbside carry-out.
"We have had a lot of people that missed us since we have been closed," she said.
She knows some are still not comfortable going out. For them, the burger company will continue to offer curbside carry-out, too.
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