Serving With A Smile

Three Rivers native Frank Pattillo enjoys lunch while server ....... refills tea during lunch recently. (Chris Filoteo photo)

THREE RIVERS – Many small business owners have struggled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

One restaurant in particular opened when the pandemic hit.

The Live Oak Restaurant & Grill opened in late March with ambitions of welcoming as many new customers as possible.

“We were open for one day and then shut down the next,” owner Lucio Morin said.

Newly hired employees were notified the same day as Governor Greg Abbott imposed his initial order.

“We had an employee meeting going over the schedules, procedures and what to expect one day,” partner Adelita Alvarez said. “Then Friday we had to call all of them and let them know what was going on.”

Opening a restaurant the same time as a pandemic was a challenging obstacle for the restaurant.

“We had some ordering issues at first,” manager Moe Morales said. “Inventory became an issue with our supplier and we had to send some bad product back sometimes.”

With the current 50 percent capacity regulations for dine-in service, Live Oak Restaurant & Grill can safely seat 44 customers.

“We can fit 88 in the dining room, but we have an entire bar in the back room where we can fit another 50,” Lucio said.

Despite not opening the dining room to full capacity during its grand opening, the management team found ways to reach its customers during COVID-19 conditions.

“We started offering curbside service right away,” Adelita said. “We also offer delivery, which has been a been really beneficial for a larger orders from big companies. We have a lot of deliveries and will continue doing that.”

The restaurant is able to remain open while serving food, but after remodeling the building before opening the establishment can’t utilize its bar area.

“This is our wow factor,” Moe said about the bar area. “This is what we wanted to provide to the community and have a great space to have fun.”

The restaurant initially opened with nearly three quarters of its full menu, but has since added to it.

“We started with a bar menu with limited options for our customers,” Moe said. “But since then we have added steak and salmon to our menu.”

Feedback from the community has been positive despite the circumstances involving COVID-19.

“It’s all been very positive,” Moe said. “We have been told we are glad that we are open with a variety of options on our menu.”

One variable seen as a silver lining amidst a pandemic is having room for improvement with business operations.

“It was a bad thing when we first closed,” Moe said. “But now it’s good to see what we can fix considering we are a new place.”

There are daily specials from freshly breaded chicken fried steaks to crisp salads available.

Live Oak Restaurant & Grill is located off 305 S. Harborth Ave.

Chris Filoteo is the editor at The Progress and can be reached at 830-254-8088, or at karnes@mySouTex.com.

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