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Supply Chain Crisis Forces Fort Worth Restaurant To Close

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - While the supply chain nightmare is blamed for shortages on everything from glass bottles to auto parts, now a Fort Worth neighborhood is finding their appetites on the line.

Drew's Soul Food Restaurant has closed its doors, shifting to catering only, as the owners struggled to secure the supplies needed to stay open.

"It started with the meat industry," explains co-owner Stephanie Thomas, "and we just knew it wasn't going to get better. And things just rolled downhill."

"Ox-tails, black eyed peas, some of the containers we can't get... and sometimes you can only get 3," shares her husband Andrew "Drew" Thomas, with Stephanie adding, "If I order the 'to go' cups for your vegetables, they may have the cups, but they don't have the lids. What good does that do me?"

For now, the owners say the time and cost involved in chasing down supplies has just become too much. So in between preparing catering orders, they're fielding calls, confirming the sad, sad news-- some even tracking Stephanie down on her personal cell.

"Only 5 minutes ago," she shares with a laugh as the restaurant phone continues to ring in the background, "I got a phone call that said 'is this true?' Yes, it's true."

For 34 years, the Fort Worth south side soul food institution has served up comfort food with a side of love--and the community has returned that love by the bushels.

"I love their smothered pork chops," gushed David Folsom, "oh my God!" Folsom says he stopped by after hearing they'd reopened the dining room, and seeing the cars in the parking lot, he dared to hope. But there was no gravy to be had today. "I hope they stay open. I love this place."

The Thomas' say they know that-- and that's what makes this situation so hard.

"Just the spirit that we do it in. You feel like you're losing that because of the challenges that you have," explains Stephanie, her brown eyes filling with tears, "feels like the best decision."

The good news, though, is that the family says the pause is a 'break', not 'goodbye'. They say they'll use the time to retool.

"Just kind of freshen things up and give it a new look and a new feel," says the Thomas' daughter Krystal, "and just make it better, overall."

"It's been very rewarding," adds her father, Andrew, "it's just been really... a fun ride."

So take heart, keep the loose jeans... it's not over.

"Just stay tuned," says Stephanie, her smile now returned, "we'll be back."

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