Eye on KELOLAND: Running a restaurant during a pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – COVID-19 has taken a toll on many businesses including restaurants. For one Sioux Falls business owner, she took over a restaurant just before the pandemic hit KELOLAND.

Staff at The Pickle Barrel are spending the morning preparing catering orders and getting ready for another day serving customers.

Owner Katelyn Cameron took over the business back in March.

“We heard it was for sale and we started dabbling and talking with Jen, the previous owner, end of January, the beginning of February,” owner Katelyn Cameron said. “I think we signed our papers on March 16th or 17th, that was when we officially took over.”

Shortly after that, news of COVID-19 in South Dakota left her wondering about the future.

“After we signed all the papers and all the states of emergencies were enacted, we came in on day one and it was bad, we were thinking ‘what did we just do, what did we get ourselves into, can we survive this timing,'” Cameron said.

Cameron had to make adjustments to her new business as the city council put restrictions on how businesses could operate in Sioux Falls.

“We pushed all of our tables and chairs to the side, we were open for carryout, we don’t have a drive-up or drive-thru option being in the strip mall, we are utilizing Food Dudes for delivery right now,” Cameron said.

“When the pandemic started, it was interesting, everything was up in the air, we weren’t really sure how busy it would be, if people were going to be out and about and going out to eat,” assistant manager, Anna Maiersperger said.

Eventually Cameron said they were able to open up to half capacity for dining and now are back open and welcoming more customers each day.

“We have opened up the dining room, we still have some of our chairs pushed out to the side, it’s small in here, so even though the city council says we can be full capacity, we are still kind of limiting it ourselves,” Cameron said. “We are getting bigger groups in and they are coming in with their coworkers, and sitting five or six to a table so we have a couple of workgroups in at a time.”

She says she and her staff are still trying to figure out exactly what a normal day will look like as more people start to make their way back into the community.

“We are hoping that with the city opening back up, and summer being here, and people wanting to get out, that they will keep us in mind, and even our neighboring businesses, who are still struggling with us, hoping for the same thing, that once people get out they will stop in and have a sandwich,” Cameron said.

“It’s nice to see regular customers coming back in who had said they were holding off but are glad that we are open and are coming back in so that’s good to see,” Maiersperger said.

While the pandemic is something no business owner could have expected, Cameron says she’s keeping a positive attitude for the future.

“Once we can get to the point where we have that line out the door and have consistency in our schedule, it’s going to be really nice to be able to plan for that, and who knows maybe there will be another Pickle Barrel in Sioux Falls someday,” Cameron said.

Cameron says she’s thankful for catering orders over the last few months that have helped them get through.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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