ROANOKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — The shutdown has had a unique impact in a city that depends on dining out.
Roanoke, in southern Denton County, calls itself the “Unique Dining Capital of Texas.” Most Fridays, parking is a problem from lunch hour, right through happy hour and after dinner.
With a small residential population though, businesses depend on destination diners, which have disappeared under orders to stay at home.
“The community of Roanoke has been outstanding, unbelievable,” said Kevin McNamara, who owns Wise Guys Pizzeria on one of end Oak Street. “But like you said, the amount of rooftops right here, within a mile or two, is different than within a mile or two in Grapevine.”
McNamara said the impact had been noticeably different between his stores in those two communities. The Roanoke location usually attracts plenty of foot traffic. And at a pizza restaurant, where pickup and delivery are the norm, his Roanoke location still did 60% of its business from customers dining in.
“Because our daytime population’s just massive whenever we have our regular days,” Mayor Scooter Gierisch said Friday. “And we have people literally coming from all over the Metroplex to dine in Roanoke, Texas. And so it is truly sad to see no vehicles parked all over the place.”
Gierisch estimated maybe a third of the 60-plus restaurants in the city had opted to close for at least the short term, after seeing pickup and delivery options fail to bring in enough business.
The impact was part of daily discussions at city hall he said, where staff was brainstorming ideas to support the dining industry until the emergency orders are lifted.
Some establishments like Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, with an established fan base and experience catering food, had transitioned well to a to-go style, he said.
Wise Guys has been giving away pizzas to those who need to eat, and selling grocery items like eggs and milk at cost, in order to entice customers to make the trip.
McNamara pointed out though that restaurants in the city relied on each other’s success to keep their businesses running.
“We’ve always said on this street that all boats rise together,” he said.