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Simple Eatery, based on Main Street in Buena Vista, has been recognized by the Chaffee’s Got Heart Community Spotlight as the next business spotlight.

The Committee spoke with Owner, Ryan McFadden to learn how the pandemic changed operations at this casual restaurant, artisan bakery and frozen yogurt establishment committed to offering a fresh, natural and relaxed dining experience.

When asked how COVID-19 caused the restaurant to innovate the way they do business, McFadden explained “When the shutdown first happened, I made a commitment to our staff that we were not going to lay anyone off.  This is our town, we live here, everyone employed lives here and I couldn’t walk around with that. So, we decided if we weren’t going to be open, we were going to take the opportunity to do other things. We remodeled the inside, started delivery, opened the grocery store and made meal kits. My staff was totally into it and did an amazing job.”

He continued “When we were able to reopen, even at 25 percent capacity, we were so busy that it was awesome we had our whole staff on board to handle it. We even opened up a pop-up pizza kitchen inside that gives a preview of the Italian restaurant we are opening down the street.”

McFadden went on to explain that Simple Eatery decided to go above and beyond to contribute to the community during the pandemic. “I live here. This is my town so the last thing I wanted to do was make people collect unemployment or shut our doors. We just made a call to keep everyone working and to stay open in whatever way we could. We were (and still are) committed to doing whatever we need to do survive even if it involves stepping outside our comfort zone.”

Simple Eatery Chaffee’s Got Heart.

When asked where he sees examples of the idea that ‘Chaffee’s Got Heart’ McFadden said “Most of the locals have been very supportive of us and the regulations to keep people safe. The fact that we never got shut down completely in this county was a testament to the fact that people were doing their part and that residents are full of heart. We saw another example in our staff of over 50 people; we asked them to watch their behavior outside of work since we were all depending on each other to stay open. They took it to heart. And, with care and commitment to the regulations and a little luck, we stayed healthy and could stay open.”

McFadden then explained his biggest takeaway from 2020.

“The biggest thing I learned is that we are all pretty adaptable and willing to try new things. I wasn’t sure how things would go or if we would make it at a limited capacity, but we learned what works, what doesn’t and rewrote our thoughts on how to do business. This made us more efficient and creative with avenues of revenue and we’ve been successful as a result of our adaptability.”

For a month every fall, Simple Eatery gives back and takes care of the Buena Vista business community by providing lunch for a couple businesses a day. To stay up to date on specials, view their menu or order online, click here. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Feature image: Courtesy of Chaffee’s Got Heart.