CHICO, Calif. - Beatniks owner and employees hope the weather holds through the weekend.
“When it was COVID only, we were doing okay," said owner of Beatniks Mike Cress. "We have a large patio area, we had seating outside, so we almost had normal seating capacity, all outside. When the fires started, the smoke got bad. That combined with the heat, there was no way anyone wanted to sit outside.”
Beatniks owner Mike Cress says the Coronavirus and the smoke served up a double dose of bad news.
“The smoke and COVID combination was really tough," said Cress. "It probably cost us 60 to 70 percent of our business during that week or two.”
As air quality improves, things are looking better for Cress and his restaurant.
“Hopefully people will go out and enjoy the park and after their run in the park or bike ride in the park, they will come over here and have coffee, breakfast or whatever it might be and hopefully this is just the case for town itself because everyone we are talking to today just kinda seems to be in this funk of when is it going to be over, when can I get back to some sort of normalcy in my life,” said Cress.
“Weekends have been back and forth with being busy and not busy," said employee Elizabeth Ynwion. "I think now that the smoke is cleared hopefully, it will be a busier weekend for us.”
One worker said the bad air quality made serving customers a challenge.
“It did affect us to an extent and a lot of customers here have been affected by the fires so that can put a damper on people’s moods here,” said Ynwion.
Cress said customers at Beatniks started a fund called the Chico Cares Fund where people who have been displaced due to the fires or first responders can come and get a free meal at Beatniks.
Beatniks is currently open for outdoor dining Monday through Sunday from 6am-2pm.