A downtown walkabout found several happy people
working to figure out the new ‘normal’ for Phase three of the
Illinois coronavirus recovery plan.
Local bars and eateries are now permitted to serve their guests via
outdoor dining areas. To help promote this, the city of Lincoln
passed rules this week that permitted each businesses the option of
utilizing three parking spaces in front of their businesses for
serving their guests.
Some of the downtown businesses are not utilizing this option, and
have come up with their own solutions.
As an example, Mama’s Arcade and Guzzardo’s are setting up dining
areas in the pass-through of the Arcade building on Pulaski Street.
At mid-day on Friday there were already guests enjoying
breakfast/early lunch from Mama’s. Food was brought out on real
plates but silverware and menus were of the throw away variety. The
waitress delivered the menus and flatware, and took the orders of
her guests, just as she would have inside the café.
Guzzardo’s is also utilizing their courtyard, and
have placed a few extra tables there. They are also utilizing
technology to make it easier for guests to view their menus. QR
codes are posted on the wall of the Arcade pass-through. Scan the
code and view the complete Guzzardo menu.
Spirited Republic, which is open only in the
evenings, is utilizing the street seating option and on Friday
morning had their tables set up with a roll of plastic fencing
waiting to be put up.
The Alley By on Pulaski Street is also going to
utilize parking spaces for their food service. At noon on Friday
guests who may have been hankering for an Alley-Bi hamburger for a
while now, happily took a seat behind the orange fencing to enjoy a
Around the corner on Kickapoo Street, Deep Roots Bakery and Café is
not going to be opening right now. They will continue to sell their
bread and chicken salad out the front door on Tuesday and Friday of
each week. Place your order on Monday or Thursday and they will
bring it out to you.
Small Town Creations is open for shopping. Owner
Kathie Williams said that she was more than ready to get back to the
shop to see people.
Williams noted that husband Jim works for an insurance company in
Bloomington and he has been working at home since the pandemic.
They have done some remodeling work around the house, have done some
sprucing up at the shop, but said frankly, Williams said that they
were about out of projects.
Williams said that her trophy business was hit hard when winter
school sports came to an abrupt halt and all spring sports were
canceled. She was very thankful though that the schools had moved
forward with doing plaques for their graduates, and that getting
that business in spite of technically being closed had been a great
Williams said there were days when she was pretty blue and days that
she didn’t know what she was supposed to do. She noted that not
knowing when she could come back full-time made it particularly
challenging because she didn’t know what season to get ready for.
She wondered, “What do I do? Do I get ready for the Fourth of July,
or do I get ready for Christmas?”
Either way, now that the store is open, it looks great, and all the
coffee is in stock, Kathie is more than ready for the customers to
return to her store.
Guesthouse Coffee and Pastries is another shop that
is not utilizing the three parking spaces in front of its
storefront. Small café tables are set under the front entryway and
in front of the two store fronts the business occupies. There are
also a couple of tables in front of the nearby windows of owner
Ethan Hoinacki’s neighboring shop, Small Town Creations.
A sign on the front door asks that there be no more than five
customers in the shop at one time. Guests go in place their orders,
then may return outside to enjoy their sweet treat and coffee on the
Up the street at the corner of Kickapoo and Broadway
Street, D-Fades barber shop was a popular place. Open for the first
time in weeks, all three chairs were filled as guys came in to get
their haircuts and also a little beard grooming done.
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The barbers on duty wore their face masks, but the
look in their eyes, coupled with the ‘thumbs up’ they offered the
camera tells us all that they are happy to have their doors open
Further up on North Kickapoo Street, Eileen Mullins
of Sir Renna Tea was celebrating reopening, happily working on shelf
stock. While the shop sells bubble tea to consume immediately,
Mullin’s said that she would not be putting out tables. She noted
there are benches outside in her porch area and once in a while
customers do sit for a spell, but most of her business is
For Mullins, the exciting part is getting people back in the shop
for all the great merchandise she offers, and the opportunity to
once again see people and visit with friends.
Flossie and Delzena’s is going to be setting their
dining tables on the Kickapoo Street side of their business. The ADA
accessible parking for Broadway Street is located in front of their
business. To preserve that for shoppers, Heather at Flossie’s chose
to take a couple of the parallel parking spots around the corner
The popular corner location also has it’s small café’
tables in front of the eatery. On Friday morning Moses Pinkerton and
a friend sat and chatted as Moses enjoyed his coffee. He noted that
one can’t drink coffee with a mask on, but they were observing
social distancing, taking up two tables instead of just one.
Moving on eastward on Broadway Street. Mary Todd Hallmark was not
open on Friday, but the Copper Penny antique and collectible shop
Owner Theresa Scheiffer was all smiles as she sat at
her counter hoping for customers. She had one shopper in the store
who was respectfully wearing a mask as he looked around.
Outside and down the street a bit, Sorrento’s owner Lisa Drew and
son Tony were busy with staff getting tables and tents set up in
their outdoor dining space. Lisa chuckled, “I always wanted outdoor
dining and now I have it.”
Drew said that she and her staff have learned to roll with the
punches and adapt to the situation we are in. She gave high praise
to Tony and the staff for how quickly they adapted to the carry out
only way of doing business of the last several weeks. She said that
for a time, she and husband Jim stayed home, but the gang at
Sorrento‘s kept on truckin’ and getting the job done.
Drew is looking forward to seeing guests return. She said that even
though the outdoor dining is not a garden, she hopes to make it nice
for her customers. Tents were being set up and she said they were
planning on having some nice lighting. Guests will come to the tent
and take a table and the wait staff will come out take their orders
and deliver their food just as they would inside the building. She
said they did plan on using throwaway plates and flatware, but were
still pondering what they were going to do with the pizzas. She said
she was leaning toward going ahead and bringing those out on
Drew said that while this time of isolation has been a challenge, it
has also had its bright spots. She said that when she was in town
she would take a walk, go to the park, and see families together. It
was fun and interesting to see families together picnicking in the
park or riding bikes around town. She likened it to the atmosphere
of the community 40 years ago when things were slower and much
Drew also delivered a big message to all of us. She said that
Lincoln is strong, it is resilient, and that a pandemic is not going
to destroy this community. She noted that we roll with the punches
and keep going because that is the kind of people we are, the kind
of community we are. So, we take what we can get right now, and look
forward to the day when we can get back to a more realistic