Sunday, October 19, 2014

Storm fails to close mouths, tough eateries

By BOBBY BURCH, Herald Staff Writer | 2/22/2013

Nearly 10 inches of snow couldn’t bury several local restaurants’ culinary courage to feed Ottawa.

In fact, while other businesses closed their doors, Sam Pacheco Jr. was busy carting his restaurant’s menu items throughout the city.

Nearly 10 inches of snow couldn’t bury several local restaurants’ culinary courage to feed Ottawa.

In fact, while other businesses closed their doors, Sam Pacheco Jr. was busy carting his restaurant’s menu items throughout the city.

“We offered delivery yesterday for those who couldn’t get out,” Pacheco, co-owner of Maria’s Mexican café, 314 S. Main St., Ottawa, said. “We got it a little earlier than normal. It was pretty much just business as usual, although it was down.”

Pacheco drove more than two miles to deliver food to Hasty Awards, 1015 Enterprise St., Ottawa, he said, and also to several patrons on the north-side of Ottawa. In addition to his dedicated customers, Pacheco said, he was very thankful to the City of Ottawa.

Although his business’ primary parking area Friday was a mountain of snow after plows cleared the area, Pacheco said he appreciated the service.

“The city did a good job of getting on the downtown district,” Pacheco said. “Everything seemed to go smooth, and I’d like to thank them for taking care of the businesses downtown.”

Down the block from Pacheco’s eatery, Smoked Creations was embracing the snow with a different strategy. While still offering carry out orders, Jeremy  Clevenger, who owns the barbecue restaurant, announced his business would be closed Thursday for dining. But that didn’t mean an easy-going “snow day” for the 37-year-old.

“I was down here all day,” Clevenger, Ottawa, said, adding that it takes about 15 hours to cook an entire smoker full of meat. “I had the smoker going because, if I take a day off, I fall behind on getting meat done.”

Despite the 20-degree weather and heavy snowfall, Clevenger said plenty of customers carried out the regionally famous barbecue.

“Even though I spent a couple extra hours in the morning shoveling snow, we still had several carry out orders,” Clevenger said, noting that Friday welcomed regular business hours. “If I’m going to be here, there’s no reason I wouldn’t do carry-outs, if they’re going to pick it up.”

At Bella Cucina Italian restaurant, Thursday was little more than a somewhat slow business day. The staff was prepared for the snow’s arrival, Francine Leone, owner of the restaurant at 129 S. Main St., Ottawa, said, which helped to attract some business.

“We had prepared for it,” Leone said. “We got things ready the night before. We had shovels ready and plenty of salt. We made sure our pipes weren’t going to freeze, too. ... We appreciate the customers that came by.”

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