ABOVE: Freshmen take a break from their Freshman Work Day efforts during the 2019 event. College Hill Coffee, this group’s Freshman Work Day work site, is one of the Winfield eateries still serving customers despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
By Shawn Knepper
COVID-19 has shut down America, and Winfield isn’t immune.
By March 16, the pandemic caused drastic changes to the restaurant industry, large chains and small dives alike. For some, staff has been reduced, contributing to one of the largest unemployment ratings the United States has seen.
The restaurant industry is no longer able to fill booths and feed those dining in, but that leaves restaurateurs room for creative service.
In Winfield, restaurant owners were faced with a decision – close until further notice, or attempt to continue feeding the community, albeit in a new way. Small businesses like College Hill Coffee, MOSA Japanese Hibachi and others decided to find ways to feed the community.
Blenda Hoskinson, owner of College Hill Coffee, said, “The pandemic has changed CHC greatly. I have always felt one of our greatest assets is the atmosphere of the coffee house.”
College Hill Coffee continues to offer options for customers craving their classic coffee, lunches and baked treats.
“We are still working and open for free porch delivery and CHC porch pick up,” said Hoskinson. “We ask for people to call ahead and pay over the phone. Then, we put their order out for them to pick up with no contact. It was my goal to continue to offer the community a bit of their ‘normal’ with CHC food and drinks.”
One place that’s been business as usual is MOSA, a Japanese hibachi and sushi food truck. Customers may still order in person or call in advance, but the dining table is off limits.
On Facebook, MOSA released a statement that said, “We will remain OPEN. We are taking steps to ensure the safety of our staff and guests.”
El Maugey, one of Winfield’s most popular restaurants, remained closed until recently reopening for carryout. The restaurant announced on Facaebook on May 4 they are aware that restrictions placed on Kansas are being lifted in the series of phases proposed by Governor Lauren Kelly.
El Maguey’s post said, “It is in our community’s best interest to continue our carry-out policy for another week. Our community has shown us nothing but great support and we would like to reciprocate that dedication by serving our customers in the safest way possible.”
Shawn Knepper reported on this story from his home in Winfield, KS.