Restaurant owner makes last-ditch effort on social media as business plummets

Business for a Barrie restaurant is plummeting during the most recent lockdown, and it's prompting the owner to reach out on social media for help.

"We have zero orders for Thursday; we have zero orders for Friday and Saturday," says Urban Dish owner Jennifer LeGallais, "it's a little heartbreaking when we realize that without your take-out orders, we will not make it until May."

The Urban Dish has been a staple in Barrie's south end for eight years, and last night, LeGallais, posted a video to Facebook in one final desperate attempt to get the business flowing once again.

Less than twelve hours later, LeGallais woke up to something she could never have imagined; the video was seen more than 5,000 times, and the restaurants' phone was ringing off the hook.

"We have 75 or 80 orders going now as of (Wednesday) night, and we had zero, so this is crazy," she says.

But despite most recent orders, LeGallais says she is still just trying to make it to May; that's when the warm patio season typically gets going.

"We kind of use the hashtag 'makes it to May' because that's when our patio opens and warmer weather comes, and whatever stage the lockdown is at, we have faith that the patio will be open for at least that," she says.

The same goes for many of the restaurants that are still open in downtown.

"It's the inconsistency of opening and closing that's really been the issue," says North Country owner Steve Ricalis.

Ricalis owns three establishments in the downtown core, and so far, take has been good to him, but he says he'll agree to anything to get people back.

"Patio season would be great, but I'd rather see people inside the restaurants myself," says Ricalis. "Every bit helps for sure you know even the ten people helped you just selling some alcohol and stuff like that it does help."

On Monday night, Barrie city council will discuss the possibility of opening patios as soon as April 1st. It may also consider waving any fees associated with the patio permits this summer