'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)

Image description
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)
Image description
Ayman Attar Bashi opened Pita Shack in Pflugerville alongside his wife, Raya Thanoon, in December 2018. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
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.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.


MOST RECENT

Candidates in the Senate District 14 special election responded to Community Impact Newspaper's questions about their campaigns to fill the vacant seat in the Texas Senate. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Senate District 14 candidates discuss the issues ahead of July 14 election

There are six candidates running in the special election to fill the seat of former Sen. Kirk Watson through 2022.

Travis County judge pushes back against attorney general's reprimand of stay-at-home order

Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe responded to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's warning that county coronavirus orders conflicted with the state's.

Take a look at how coronavirus impacted Williamson County this week. (Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Take a look at how coronavirus impacted Williamson County this week

The county reported 596 total cases on May 29.

The Williamson County small-business grant program has issued more than $18.5 million as of May 29. (Ali Linan/Community Impact)
Williamson County small-business grant program issues more than $18.5 million

The program has aided more than 1,600 local businesses.

Williamson County and Cities Health District reported eight new cases of coronavirus May 29, bringing the county total to 596. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
1 death and 8 new confirmed cases of coronavirus reported May 29 in Williamson County

Williamson County and Cities Health District reported the total number of cases at 596.

Alongside its staples such as Hawaiian Shave Ice and gourmet sodas, Urban Sips   Sweets has added salted caramels and frosted sugar cookies to its 2020 menu. (Courtesy Urban Sips   Sweets)
Urban Sips + Sweets in Hutto to reopen May 30 for summer season, featuring new menu items

Alongside its staples such as Hawaiian Shave Ice and gourmet sodas, Urban Sips + Sweets has added salted caramels and frosted sugar cookies to its 2020 menu.

"With summer camp 2020 canceled, summer camp 2021 will be the best one yet," Recreation Program Coordinator Daulton Mobley said. (Courtesy Pflugerville Parks and Recreation)
Pflugerville's Summer Pfun Camp 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns

"With summer camp 2020 canceled, summer camp 2021 will be the best one yet," Recreation Program Coordinator Daulton Mobley said.

A photo of the Travis County headquarters sign
Austin Public Health officials say they plan to increase support to Latino community, where coronavirus hospitalizations are up

As of May 26, 76 Hispanic individuals in Travis County were hospitalized with COVID-19, representing around 78% of all hospitalizations.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Travis County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
92nd coronavirus death reported in Travis County

Active hospitalizations in the metropolitan area dropped from 97 to 88 over the past 24 hours.

DATA: Parents, students, staff share feedback on Round Rock ISD online learning

Should schools reopen in the fall, 63% of parents who responded to the survey said they would be comfortable with their children returning to campus.

The road work is related to the city's parklets construction, which will add green space, additional parking and pedestrian improvements to downtown Round Rock. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Downtown Round Rock road work to close streets, parking May 29-June 1

Check out our map with seven free parking options that will remain open this weekend.

Travis County continues to urge residents to follow social distancing guidelines when out in public. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County officials: 20 new coronavirus hospitalizations per day would strain local hospital capacity

Dr. Mark Escott said new admissions per day is a key measure to determine if the county should be more or less restrictive in its guidance to residents and businesses.