When Bar King opened in March 2020, COVID-19 was already dominating the news. Bar King was able to open for five days before restaurants were shuttered in the midst of the pandemic. In response, the restaurant pivoted and came up with a new strategy to fit the current situation.
It started with clear and open collaboration between Bar King, the landlords, and NAI Elliott to develop a financial plan to allow the restaurant to continue despite current circumstances.
Soon after, they launched a brunch box every Saturday and Sunday. The box, priced at $25, is available for preorder only and creates zero food waste. It offers guests one savory pastry, two sweet pastries, fresh fruit and two coffees from Good Coffee. The pastry and fruit options change on Saturday and Sunday, offering a new experience with each box.
The response to the brunch box has been overwhelmingly positive! Katherine Benvenuti, head of the bakery at Bar King, said, “We have customers that get both the Saturday and Sunday box every week.”
“Businesses like Bar King that can adapt and rapidly employ new ideas, while owning their own results, good and bad, have a much better chance of survival,” said Thad Fisco, co-owner of the 726 SE 6th building where Bar King is located.
Bar King is also looking forward towards re-opening. Bar King has applied through the Portland Bureau of Transportation to provide seating after 5pm in the parking lot across the street. The OLCC is also allowing alcohol service in expanded areas. This will allow for increased seating while still respecting social distancing guidelines.
“We are very pleased with the proactive approach that the city and PBOT have taken to allow businesses, especially restaurants, to be able to utilize the public space right away,” said Jon Kellogg, co-owner of the 726 SE 6th building. “The additional seating that this will provide restaurants affected by social distancing requirements will be a game changer. We also feel that this will help enliven streets and neighborhoods, while supporting not only restaurants, but the other businesses that rely on them to draw customers.”
With the flexibility of the building ownership and management team and Bar King’s willingness to adapt to new circumstances, the restaurant has been able thrive. We look forward to continuing to partner with them as conditions change.