Minneapolis cafe gets real about the struggles of operating amid pandemic

Minneapolis cafe gets real about struggles

Entrance of Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis.
Usually full on a summer day, the patio space outside the Birchwood Café in Minneapolis sits empty.
Courtesy of Keelie Ritter

The Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood is not doing OK — despite revamping its business model to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Owner Tracy Singleton wrote an open letter, sent out by email, letting the community know what struggles the restaurant was facing.

“It's been 4 1/2 half months since we shuttered our dining room for COVID-19 and a little over six weeks since we’ve been in touch,” Singleton said. “I kept waiting and hoping I could reach out with better news.”

But there is no good news to share. Singleton reports that summer sales are only 25 percent of normal and are facing $400,000 loss due to reduced business this summer. Singleton spoke with All Things Considered host Tom Crann about the struggles of keeping the 25-year-old business open during the pandemic, as well as what community members can do to support the restaurant.

Use the audio player above to listen to the interview.

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