The coronavirus pandemic has absolutely decimated local restaurants in Milwaukee. Almost a year into the pandemic and with winter in full swing, carry-out ordering has become one of the only lifelines for restaurants.
For Lazy Susan MKE, their commitment to carry-out has been steadfast since the first lockdown last March. Owner AJ Dixon offers meals Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays and every meal has to be pre-ordered from their limited menu. This is to keep costs down while still being able to serve meals.
“I’m only ordering what I need, we’re only prepping what we need, only spending, you know, exactly what we need money-wise for product to come in so that way there’s not a lot of waste,” she says.
Dixon’s commitment is not only to keeping her restaurant open but to the community. She sends any unsold food home with her workers or with neighbors so that it doesn’t go bad on days they aren’t open.
She also now gives her employees sick time and doesn't allow any sick employees to come into work so that no one is making the choice between their paycheck or spreading disease.
“It’s hard, cause it’s like how do you choose between money and you know, your health,” she says. “I want them to know that if they aren’t feeling well and if they are ill, they can stay home, and they will be paid for it.”
Right now Dixon doesn’t feel pressured to re-open for indoor dining and says she is looking at June as a time when indoor dining could possibly resume. She understands that other restaurants have already opened up but she and her employees want to stay committed to their model.
"Whatever your choice is, you know, this happens to be mine, that I just think that the general perception right now is people need to be comfortable in order for things to go back to normal," she says.