When The Hop abruptly closed last week, the reaction to not having that usual place to go was stunning. But service industry veterans' thoughts quickly moved to the employees and where they would go the next day to find a job. The first to react were some restaurant owners, realizing that a variety of employees - servers, cooks, and other kitchen staff - were suddenly out of work. Steve Ventura, co-owner of Quinn's and manager of Ziatun recalled: "I called a couple of people first thing Tuesday morning to offer them jobs. By the time I heard about what happened on Monday night, it was too late to make phone calls, so I waited until morning." Steve eventually hired someone for regular shifts at Ziatun, and another person for the kitchen at Quinn’s.
George Mansfield, owner of Dogwood on the other side of the Fishkill Creek, made a fast hire the next day: "We hired Pete - he's one of the cooks - and are trying to fit a few more in." Stock Up, over on Teller Avenue, hired a line cook, aka "Sandwich Master," and co-owner Lisa Hall says: "He's killing it!"
Craig Nixon, an active participant in a community Facebook group, put a call out with Kamel Jamal, co-owner of four restaurants in the area including the Beacon Bread Company, Ziatun, Tito Santana Taqueria, and Angelina's in Cold Spring. "Response has been very positive," says Craig. "We’ve heard from a cross-section of folks, some ex-Hoppers and some not. In addition, response from the entire community has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re currently in the process of setting up interviews. With four locations, there are a lot of schedules in play here."
Other eateries and cafes have tried, including Homespun and Ella's Bellas, but they haven't found a match yet. Jessica Reisman, co-owner of Homespun, tried to hire a dishwasher, but he ended up moving to out of state. Carley Hughes, owner of Ella's Bellas, has "come close, but we haven’t hired anyone, yet. We are still hopeful!" Jason Robert Schuler, owner of More Good, reported: "We gave part-time shifts at farmers' markets to a couple of people, and commissary kitchen production work to a couple more people." More Good produces syrups out of their Main Street location, which sells teas, syrups and bitters in the front, with a custom-designed commissary kitchen in the back.
Max's On Main and Poppy's say no one has inquired for a job just yet. Meanwhile, The Vault is hiring for servers and a cook and hopes people will walk in and ask, and Barb's Butchery is hiring. There are many more restaurants than these to check in with. If you need budgetary justification to eat out on the weekend, and more importantly mid-week for an easy lunch or dinner, consider this: What you miss out on in savings from cooking at home, you'll gain in companionship, time saved (from cooking and cleaning!), and a good feeling from supporting the community.