Restaurants prepare for busy summer season as more North Dakotans get vaccinated

Good Day Dakota

Whether it’s downtown or riverside, life after a worldwide pandemic has pulled up a seat at the table. From mask mandates to social distancing, it seems like better days are ahead for the food industry.

Two Mandan restaurant owners are already preparing as they bounce back.

Stacy Sturm, co-owner of Thomas and Moriarty’s says, “A lot of restaurants are having their events back. Their 80s night, their 90s night, their trivia, all that stuff. Kind of within the last month I’ve noticed bars and restaurants have started to do that again.”

Thomas and Moriarty’s is a craft cocktail bar in Mandan. Sturm says as more people are getting vaccinated, business is increasing.

Sturm adds, “A lot of people that have been kind of staying away from public places, now that they’re vaccinated and know they know other people are getting vaccinated, I feel like there’s more confidence to get back out and try to live life again.”

Same for The Paddle Trap, a family restaurant in Mandan.

Michelle Kaufman, co-owner at The Paddle Trap says, “People are really starting to come out more and more every day and what I hear from people when we’re serving them is ‘This is the first time that I’ve been out in a year. We finally got vaccinated, our family got vaccinated.'”

Kaufman says it takes a lot to prepare, like hiring 80 people to cover summer shifts and
transitioning from temporary menus to a full new menu.

Kaufman explains, “Our brunch menu is new, our lunch menu, our drink menu, everything is new and improved, so there’s lots of fun new things to try. We’re back to full menu, full dining service, inside, outside.”

Same with Thomas and Moriarty’s. Sturm says things won’t ever be the same, but now she feels like it’s finally getting back to where they started.

Sturm shares, “So now we’re kind of getting back our creativity. Where we can start coming up with mocktails, and coming up with new gin and tonics, coming up with new signature drinks, and changing the menu and making it a permanent thing versus just a little two sheeter throw away and it’s really exciting to be able to get that fire back.”

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