Today we open Barnacle Billy’s, Etc. at 5:00 PM EDT. As is normal procedure, Barnacle Billy’s (Original) will close at 5:00 PM. This has been tradition for as many years as Barnacle Billy’s, Etc. has been open. We have a wonderful staff here at Etc. The plan is to stay open every day until Etc. closes for the season on October 30, 2022.
When Covid struck in 2020, I didn’t open Etc. at all. I guess I should qualify that statement. I opened the kitchen at Etc. and we had the bathrooms open to patrons. But we did not open the restaurant to patrons dining inside. I was too afraid of the virus spreading. I was too afraid that staff and/or customers would get hurt. Even with a better filtration system, the infected air has to go by the customers to get to the filters. It didn’t seem like a good idea. During the 2021 season we started opening with restrictions. As those restrictions eased and we could put tables closer together, a bit of normalcy was attained. But we couldn’t find help enough to keep the restaurant open seven days a week.
This winter and spring, Sarah Cannon (Floor Manager/Manager), Micah Tower (General Manager) and Eric Littlefield (Kitchen Manager) have worked tirelessly to bring in enough staff to, potentially, keep the restaurant open seven days a week. That is the plan. And, from my perspective, they have done an excellent job. We are further ahead than any year I can remember. We have basked in the luxury of having quite a few foreign J1 students as part of the team here at Etc. before 2020. We do have five or six who will maybe work here this season. But we have nowhere near what we used to have. So the “Terrific Three” have managed to overcome this and supplement this restaurant with more American staff than we have had many years before.
One of the bigger problems we have with any seasonal business is having staff who will work in the spring and fall as well as the summer. Those employees young enough to be in school help us tremendously during the summer but are in school during the spring and fall. So it’s a delicate balance. As the gold miners used to say out west, hopefully, all this will pan out.
So I am cautious in my assessment but I am much more confident than I thought I would be six months ago. I am very much looking forward to tonight’s opening. I hope to see you there!