Masked servers carry a large brown bags filled with to-go orders, scurrying past a motif that says, “Where hope grows, miracles blossom”. “She wouldn’t let me call her mom at work – said it was unprofessional,” he explains, “I started calling her Kat, and waited till my senior year in high school to tell her that one day I would buy the restaurant.” She laughed at her son’s ambition. On Mothers’ Day this year, the restaurant was at full capacity from sunup until after midnight, handling as many to-go orders as safely possible. As the country reopens for dining under social distance, owners and restaurant workers are struggling to find innovative ways to make the numbers work. The easy answer is, “because there is a contract and those are the terms of the lease.” But, just like renters for apartments and rental homes, what happens if the landlord takes legal steps to enforce the letter of the law? While some states, like Texas, Georgia and Wisconsin, have opened up the restaurant industry to varying degrees, California has taken a stricter approach. Travis Childers is the owner and chef at The Cork and Plough in King City, about 100 miles south of San Jose. “I’m holding my breath to see where it goes.” “I have no real reason to keep working my butt off,” Herrera says with conviction, reflecting back on a lifetime in the restaurant industry.
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