WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - A well-known seafood restaurant in the East Bay is getting creative to stay open during the stay at home order.
Walnut Creek Yacht Club has turned into a soup kitchen for customers by offering frozen soups by the quart and DIY cocktails to go, according to co-owner Kevin Weinberg.
“Our soups, we’re kind of famous for and I’m a real soup fanatic,” Weinberg said.
Weinberg said the restaurant was forced to lay off roughly 45 employees due to the coronavirus shelter in place orders. Those employees were given care packages of food with their last check. Now, with only two sous chefs left, the restaurant is offering frozen soups to-go.
“Everything we hadn’t given away in our care package to our staff, we cooked all the fishes, we took all the perishables,” he said. “We came up with a list of 19 soups and I think we made in the first day, 220 quarts.”
Weinberg is hoping the federal stimulus bill will soon provide help to cover their losses. The bill would provide more than $300 billion in aid for small businesses so businesses can keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
“A deferment is great,” he said. “I know the SBA is allowing deferrals on loans which is really good they way they're doing it. It's going to be helpful.”
For now, Weinberg said the soup sales will at least keep a couple of people employed and keep them in touch with customers while they work on a plan on how to reopen when this is all over. He anticipates still being able to order supplies for their most popular soups, like the clam chowder.
“We have a lot of great customers that love our soups and chowders, plus I get to see everybody and thank them personally from six feet away,” he added.
It’s a new way of doing business, after 23 years in downtown Walnut Creek.