Local restaurant opens doors for dine-in but is still concerned for the future

SPOKANE, Wash. — Wooden City has been relying on takeout and delivery since November; with sales down 90%,  they’re just trying to figure out how they’ll stay afloat.

“How do we mitigate some of the losses? You know, the whole game right now is just working to lose less money,” said Jon Green, co-owner and chef at Wooden City.

The restaurant opened in August 2020. While they were welcomed by the community, Green says they couldn’t create much of a following before Washington’s second restaurant shutdown in November. It’s been especially tough for Wooden City because they didn’t qualify for a lot of the additional assistance other businesses received, including PPP assistance and local grants. While they didn’t qualify for extra aid, they’ve experienced the same struggles.

“This year has been by far the hardest year of my entire life,” Green said.

Right now, restaurants are allowed to open up at 25% capacity with open-air dining. They also have to monitor CO2 levels in the air. For Green, this opening is a big deal because Wooden City was developed with a focus on the dine-out experience.

“We’re a full service restaurant, and we take just as much pride in the hospitality as we do the food. It’s been really rough trying to survive solely on takeout,” Green said.

However, Derek Baziotis, Spokane chair of the Washington Hospitality Association and restaurant owner, doesn’t think 25% capacity will do anything for the industry.

“Even if I’m at max capacity at 25%, it’s still not breaking even. I’m losing money at that point,” Baziotis said.

That’s why he’s teamed up with other restaurant owners to create a public service announcement urging officials to allow restaurants to open at 50% capacity which is what Baziotis believes will help owners and employees move forward.

“50% we bring the employees back, right? 25% we’re not bringing that many employees back,” Baziotis said.

For more information, you can visit Facebook to check out a group restaurant owners created to push for faster re-opening, less restrictions and more support of  their vital industry in Spokane.