Jose Salazar on Working Through the Uncertainty and Getting Back to Business

The chef and owner of Goose + Elder, Mita’s, and Salazar says, ”Restaurant people are fighters by nature, and we don’t easily succumb.”

“The biggest challenge for us since closing in March has been the uncertainty in what lies ahead. Will we see another spike with the virus? Will we be able to reopen while keeping our staff and guests safe? Will people have confidence in us? Will we be perceived negatively because of some of the decisions we make? Will the money we have on hand sustain us through the first few months and beyond? You’d need to write a 500-page book and not a magazine article to tackle the multitude of unanswerable questions we all have right now.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

“Moving forward, we have to rethink how we do almost everything. We’ll have to add and subtract things from a business standpoint to try to remain relevant and make the businesses profitable.

+Cincinnati Magazine looks back to see how Cincinnatians of the past made it through their dark days and to the leaders of today’s efforts to move forward. Read all the stories here.

“We’re grateful to be have been a part of the LEE Initiative’s restaurant relief program at Mita’s, which gave us a chance to help our colleagues and provide a little relief and comfort during a time when there was obviously a lot of despair in our industry. We ended our involvement in late May so we could reopen our places on June 1. We served about 200 meals per night seven days a week starting on March 19 [approximately 14,000 total meals]. Funds came from public and corporate donations, and La Soupe and several of our food purveyors, including Sysco and Creation Gardens, donated food.

“Restaurant people are fighters by nature, and we don’t easily succumb. When the order ticket printer in the kitchen won’t stop printing at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, we dig deep and attack it one ticket at a time—and eventually we get through it by working together and pulling each other out of the weeds. My motivation comes from knowing that I have my family, both at work and home, to fight for. I will do everything in my power to try to get back to serving our devoted and supportive guests in a safe manner. We owe it to all the people who have sent their well wishes, bought gift cards, and donated to help keep us afloat.”

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