The COVID-19 pandemic hitting businesses is not easy to recover from. Jeffrey's Bistro suffered for a year in 2021, with staffing issues, that caused them to sadly announce their closure on Facebook last week.

The good news is that their owners said that it's not entirely the end of the bistro. Instead of complete closure, co-owner Travis Collins described it as more of restructuring, with a new name and new menu.

The new menu will eliminate entrée dining options and a heavier reliance on takeout. The reason behind this was that the entrées were the part that made it harder in the kitchen.

With menus such as macaroni and cheese, soups, salads, and sandwiches, it will reduce the kitchen's need for highly trained cooks and ease the workload on the bistro more.

As the bistro undergoes remodeling throughout August, they expect to open the new restaurant in September.

“We decided to restructure and take Jeffrey’s into the future,” Co-owner Chrissy Mathews said. “We were all putting in about 90 hours each a week, and as much as we love this (place), we had to change for our mental health. We were starting to burn out.”

The remodeling will give the owners a buffer to avoid another workplace crisis. With two ovens going out in June, electrical fires, and a variety of equipment failures that led to daylong closures, the closure will give them some time to address safety issues in the kitchen, on top of reducing workload and modernizing the space.

“The remodel is really big for us. Everything in here was built by the original owners in 1983 when they opened the building, so we definitely want to refresh,” Mathews said. “It’s a happy move forward.

The new remodeling will also focus mostly on takeout service, providing counter service rather than the regular full-service dining experience. This is mostly an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, where during the time, Collins said takeout orders increased exponentially.

“Before COVID, we maybe did one takeout or two takeout (orders) a day at this restaurant,” Collins said. “Now, it’s almost 50% of our business.”

However, this does not mean that they are not going to make gourmet, fully homemade food anymore. It is the opposite, where they will try making house-made Reubens with fresh bread, corned beef, and hand-pickled sauerkraut. With the items being simpler than their previous menu, it makes it easier for them to train new cooks.

Jeffrey’s Bistro at 123 E. Ivinson Ave. closed on July 30 and plans to return with a new name and menu in September. Just in time for the new semester! Excited to see the new changes!

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