Independent restaurants in Nashville are reaching a breaking point, some consider drastic measures

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As many of Nashville’s independent restaurants struggle to survive the pandemic, some are considering taking drastic measures.

The owners of Nicky’s Coal Fired say while it isn’t what they would want to do, a shutdown may be the best solution to get ahold of the growing numbers.

“It has been challenging,” Caroline Galzin told News 2.

The popular West Nashville spot went from a bustling dine-in restaurant to counter service as they implemented a number of changes amid COVID-19 with the health of the community a top priority.

“We have never expanded our dining capacity really beyond 25 percent,” said Galzin.

However, Galzin says more needs to be done and it needs to be consistent across the board.

“As a business owner, I would like to see more decisive action and a little more follow-through. It’s just a very confusing time,” she explained.

Officials can’t wait with funding dwindling and unemployment benefits coming to an end.

“I think right now everybody is focusing on putting out the fire of the day and not thinking really where are we going to be 6 months from now because COVID is still going to be here 6 months from now, people are still going to be getting sick 6 months from now. We need a collective solution where everybody is going to get on board, everybody is going to be 110 percent saying let’s do what we can to get this under control so that there is a future for all of us.”

Nicky’s Coal Fired is one of about 30 independent restaurants in Nashville that are working together to come up with a solution.

“If we were told today that to get COVID under control across the entire city that we needed to close for a certain amount of time, while that’s not what I want to do, I would be open to doing it. If it meant that we could get a real grip on the situation and on the other side of however long a close down needed to be, we would be in a better position to do business and serve our customers. I think the more that we as a restaurant community can all be on the same page and agree that we are just going to suck it up, do what we gotta do to get through this time, in the long run, it’s going to be better for everyone,” said Galzin. 

75 percent of Nashville’s restaurants are independent, according to Rob Mortensen, President of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association, with no large organization to bail them out. Mortensen told News 2 that a wave of restaurant closures are expected in the next few months.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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