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Broomfield's North Side Tavern Has One Last Hurrah, Shuts Down Until Indoor Dining Is Allowed Again

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) - Without more financial help, some restaurants are left with a tough choice of either scraping by with takeout, delivery, and limited outdoor dining, or shutting down until indoor dining is allowed again. In Broomfield, the North Side Tavern chose the latter, closing temporarily. The restaurant's closing comes a day before its five-year anniversary. Instead of celebrating Sunday evening, employees prepped for a final night of food and drink sales.

North Side Tavern in Broomfield
(credit: CBS)

"We planned this, and we had a good summer and fall, and we put the money aside for that and all of our staff will be able to furlough and collect some unemployment," said Steve Bauer.

Bauer, who owns the restaurant, said it is at its best with a busy bar and dining room. Five years ago, when he opened the tavern, pick-up service was not a large part of the plan.

"We're a community tavern, kind of the Cheers of Broomfield," Bauer said.

North Side Tavern in Broomfield
(credit: CBS)

Now with COVID restrictions tightening again, Bauer decided to close temporarily instead of managing dwindling profits. He made the announcement this week on the restaurant's Facebook page, describing it as "the path of the least amount of loss."

"On Saturday, Sunday, Monday we had lost $2,000 between that period of time," Bauer described. "Without additional support it's just not enough to take that kind of a loss. We prefer shutting down and taking that loss in the hopes that our reserves will take us to where we can reopen again."

According to Bauer, each employee will get their job back when he reopens, but he knows that doesn't make the short term any easier.  

"We all have lives and families and losing your job, no matter what type of work you're in, is devastating," said longtime bartender Chantelle Elliott.

What's helping employees cushion the blow the most right now is the support of loyal customers. Bauer said several people have written checks or left large tips throughout the week. Support was apparent on Sunday night, too, as the restaurant sold out of prime rib in about 17 minutes.

"They're going to be fine. I'm going to make sure of that," Bauer said. "Even if we have to sell T-shirts, whatever we do we'll make it work."

North Side Tavern in Broomfield
(credit: CBS)

One thing Bauer is hopeful about is a proposed certification program that would allow businesses to operate under fewer restrictions if they pass a state inspection. A similar program, called the "5-Star" program, is currently in a pilot phase in Mesa County.

On Friday, the state released the draft framework for the program. Business owners and members of the public can submit comments about the program online. The deadline to submit comments is Dec. 4, and CDPHE plans to announce if the program is approved by Dec. 14.

"Government help would be great right now for my people," Bauer said. "The restaurant will be fine for a couple months if we have to be closed, but my staff, they have to survive."

Bauer said he would apply and reopen if such a program is approved in his area. If not, he hopes to reopen after the new year.  
On Monday, Bauer and his employees will gather all remaining food in the kitchen and donate it to a local food pantry.


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