COVID-19’s impact on the St. Louis food scene 1 year later

5 On Your Side Abby Llorico sat down with four local foodies from afar for a special two-part episode series on the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast

ST. LOUIS – A year ago, on Wednesday, officials in the St. Louis area announced tough security measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. At the time, it was thought they would only last a few weeks, maybe a month.

For the restaurant industry, this means enough pivot points to make you dizzy, even stumble and fall. But they get up again.

5 On Your Side Abby Llorico sat down with four local foodies from afar for a special two-part episode series on the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast. They talked about what happened, what’s next and how gastronomy can and must recover after a year.

“How much of your job last year has been not even making sure the food looks good when it goes out, or the drinks taste good, or the environment is good, just following the rules, laws, and guidelines?” Abby asked about a group zoom interview.

“I would say 95%,” said Tara Gallina, co-owner of Vicia. “I mean, I think 5% of my life has been like normal food and drink businesses, which is sad in some ways.”

“Without the PPP loan, and it’s scary to say – Mai Lee has been in business for 35 years – we could have gone under in an instant,” said Qui Tran, who also owns Nudo House. “And I mean, I never thought of anything like that, but it opened my eyes.”

“There’s no real resource for restaurants to say, ‘OK, here’s the checklist of all the different things you can use. And here is the easiest way to do it. ‘It just takes a lot of time,’ added Russell Ping, the owner and head chef of Russell’s Café.

“The level of uncertainty we expected and what we got were different things,” said Kyle Kohlmorgen, chief brewer and founder of Wellspent Brewing.

You can watch the full conversation in the YouTube video below and learn more about the interview by downloading and subscribing to the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast. Part 1 of the conversation will be released on Thursday March 18 and Part 2 will be released on Thursday March 25.

Via the Abby Eats St. Louis podcast:

The Abby Eats St. Louis Podcast tells the story of St. Louis based on what’s on the table. From the hunger for local ingredients to the booming brunch scene to the craving for creative cocktails, Abby delves into the essentials of how St. Louis became the foodie town it is.

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