My name is Brandon Bortles, I own a restaurant in downtown Golden named Abejas. It is a small restaurant and we pride ourselves on being everchanging, adhering to seasonality, and sourcing as locally as possible.
Abejas is coming up on its fifth anniversary later this month, a milestone we planned to celebrate with the conclusion of our loans and being debt free. Then Covid struck and changed everything. Like every business around the world, we are trying to adapt to our new reality.
COVID-19 has brought our downtown Golden merchants closer together in many ways. Sharing and sorting information, collective brainstorming, collaborating to support each other. The city of Golden was swift in helping the restaurants occupy the parking spaces outdoors and giving us more opportunity for dining safely. Many Golden restaurants came together to contribute to BGoldN which is providing free meals to those that could use a little help.
I am writing this today as a plea to the community to continue to support local businesses. We are going to need you this fall. The city is considering extending the permits for restaurants to be able to utilize the outside dining in the street longer and helping us with grants to get outside heaters.
Supporting the businesses is harder these days; we might have limited hours, different formats, slower or limited service to allow for Covid precautions. I implore you to find ways to keep your money local: Miners Alley Playhouse is not able to have shows right now but are having live virtual theater; Skip Netflix one night and order take out to watch a ballgame or have a picnic; Wait in the line at Grateful Bread on Saturdays — it is worth it; Buy gift cards to our local retail shops and restaurants; Tune in on social media because businesses are all adjusting and are having a hard time reaching customers.
At Abejas, we have tinkered with pop ups, wine dinners and take out; but felt the safest course of action was to remain closed for the last five months. Most of our staff was able to get unemployment, hunker down and try to ride out the spread of this virus. That brings us to the present. We must try to reopen soon and simply don’t have the capital to wait and see any longer. Employees are running out of unemployment benefits.
So, we are reopening. Does it feel like the right time? Are we guaranteed to be safe? Are people ready to dine out again? Quite sure when I ask myself these questions — the answer is no. That uncertainty is pitted against the reality of giving up on what we as small business owners have worked our entire life to achieve.
We will reopen Abejas, albeit in a different way. There will be more obstacles, a limited schedule of three nights a week, less options, requiring prepaid reservations, etc… we hope you understand. We have come to these new formats to best ensure our guest and staff safety as Covid does not seem to be “just disappearing” any time soon.
Beginning Labor Day weekend, we will be doing a prefix menu three nights per week. We will be hyper local through the late Summer and Fall harvest. We hope to see you….. in your mask of course. #goldenstrong
Brandon Bortles is the owner of Golden restaurants Abejas and Nosu Ramen. More information about his restaraunts is available on Facebook and Instragram at @abejasgolden or @nosuramen, and online at abejasgolden.com and nosuramen.com.