'We thrive on the community’s support': Pflugerville restaurant owners find ways to stay open in light of coronavirus-related restrictions

Mary and Josh Foss opened West Pecan Coffee   Beer in April 2018. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mary and Josh Foss opened West Pecan Coffee Beer in April 2018. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Mary and Josh Foss opened West Pecan Coffee Beer in April 2018. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Joe Kahrimani, owner of Joe's Italian Kitchen in Pflugerville, said he pulled from recipes he learned as a child in northern Italy when creating his menu. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Ayman Attar Bashi opened Pita Shack in Pflugerville alongside his wife, Raya Thanoon, in December 2018. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
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John Brotherton owns both Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue in Pflugerville and Liberty Barbecue in Round Rock. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mary Foss, co-owner of West Pecan Coffee + Beer in Pflugerville, is among local business and restaurant owners finding creative, healthy and safe ways to stay in business following new restrictions issued by Travis County on March 17.

Restaurants in Pflugerville and throughout Travis County are restricted to drive-thru, takeout and delivery options from March 17-May 1, following a Travis County order to reduce public gatherings from 250 people to 10 people. The decision temporarily suspends dine-in services and closes bars for six weeks in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus.

“We thrive on the community’s support," Foss said. "They are the backbone to our business. We would love for them to continue to come out and support us if they are healthy and able to do that.”

As it stands, at West Pecan, customers can walk up, place an order and return to their vehicles. Staff will bring the items—pastries, coffee, tea, bottles of wine and growlers of beer—to the customer's car.

“We are trying to stay open and sell as much as we can," Foss said. "We are here, ready to serve our community a slice of normalcy with their coffee and pastry.”

Prior to the March 17 announcement, Joe Kahrimani of Joe's Italian Kitchen said in a March 16 email to Community Impact Newspaper that his restaurant had seen a lower turnout in dine-in customers in the past week. The business offers takeout and delivery options to customers and will open a drive-thru window for its customers beginning at 5 p.m. on March 17, Kahrimani said.

We’re in close contact with health authorities and have posted signs in our restaurant on how to deal with and prevent the spread of the virus," Kahrimani said, adding the restaurant had been cleaning all surfaces with antibacterial solutions hourly.

John Brotherton, owner of Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue in Pflugerville and Liberty Barbecue in Round Rock, said in a March 17 Facebook post—prior to Travis County's announcement—that he and his employees "are all bracing for impact."

"The greatest pride I’ve felt opening Brotherton's Black Iron Barbecue is being able to contribute to the livelihood of our team and giving back to the community," Brotherton said. "We aren’t just a local business. We are a Pflugerville owned business that supports the Pflugerville community. It is during these times that we will need your support more than ever for us to be able to continue the cycle."

Brotherton concluded his announcement asking customers to support local businesses in any means possible. In a separate Facebook post following Travis County's announcement, Brotherton encouraged his customers to continue purchasing gift cards to local eateries to help keep businesses afloat.

Ayman Attar Bashi and Raya Thanoon, owners of Pita Shack in Pflugerville, posted a message to their customers March 13 that the business will be switching to pickup and delivery services only, with orders and payments now only available online.

"Our team has always worked hard to bring to you the best quality food and safe environment," the announcement read, adding the safety of both Pita Shack's customers and staff is its central priority.

Exemptions to public gather restrictions with Travis County's order include "critical infrastructure," per the city news release, which includes: airport facilities, public transit and transit facilities, government buildings "providing essential services," schools and higher learning facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and medical offices and facilities.

Kelsey Thompson - Taylor Jackson Buchanan


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