Huntsville coffee shop owner chooses not to reopen her dining room

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 7:34 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Restaurants now have the option to reopen dine-in eating to their customers. Many businesses are taking full advantage after weeks of struggling on takeout orders. Other owners are sticking with what they’ve been doing, not wanting to rush back into things too quickly.

Christy Graves is one of those people, she owns Honest Coffee Roasters in downtown Huntsville.

On Monday, she made the move to bring back outdoor seating, but held back when it came to the dining room.

“I think I’m just going to leave the dining room closed for now, I do have five tables designated I can open when I feel a little bit more comfortable with everything, but I’m just not trying to rush anything," she said.

Graves said the new system of online and walk up orders has been good.

“We have had a lot of success with response to the to-go option, I think having outdoor tables in the spring is a great option," she said. “Honestly, with the restrictions, there aren’t a whole lot of tables I can safely open so keeping my staff safe is at the forefront of my concerns, because I need all of them here so we don’t have to quarantine anybody and shutdown.”

Graves said customers have really enjoyed having the tables back outside.

“I think after being home bound for so long, being able to sit outside on a pretty day and have a cup of coffee is pretty nice," Graves said.

To keep people safe, Graves has developed a line with one entrance and one exit, markers on the floor so people know where to wait and large sneeze guards between cashiers and customers.

Her and her employees also wear gloves and face masks at all times.

Graves said she’s proud of the measures they have taken but do miss their customers.

“That has been the hardest part," she said. "The heartbeat of our business really is the community and our customers. We have been very successful and I think it’s because we have been a melting pot of our community. It’s where a lot of people in Huntsville come to gather.”

Financially, she said they’ve been able to survive.

“All things considered, we’ve still kept our doors open everyday and we’ve kept people in their jobs everyday and those were the two biggest things I was concerned about," Graves said.

Graves said she understands other restaurant owners, who are reopening their dining areas, are making the best decisions for their businesses

She said she is looking forward to things getting back to normal, but said Honest Coffee Roasters will probably stick with their current format for the foreseeable future, out of an abundance of caution.

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