Read below to catch up with Jennie Lloyd, manager at Duet restaurant and jazz club about how COVID-19 impacted their business and employees, how they are bouncing back, and their exciting events coming in the future to get you out of the house.
How have you been affected by COVID-19? Back in March, we were blindsided by the pandemic. All of us lost our jobs on March 17 when we were shut down. It was one of the worst weeks of my life, and it was just brutal to watch a thriving business decimated almost overnight. I went from working 50-60 hours a week and planning a huge calendar of spring events to filing for unemployment in such a short span of time it made my head spin. We tried reopening in June, but the response was so tepid and concerns were running so high, we decided to close for the rest of the summer. We reopened to tremendous response just this past week, which was incredible for us.
How are you operating during the pandemic? Our hours of operation are reduced and we are open fewer days per week now. We’ve added wine dinners on Wednesdays, which are super fun nights with live music and special menus and a wine expert on hand to discuss wine pairings. As for safety precautions, we are all masked at all times. And luckily, we have a terrific covered patio and our indoor dining area has a big garage door that basically opens an entire wall of the room; we also have terrific historic windows (we’re the only business in the Archer Building who kept the historic windows when we renovated the space) that open up our dining room even further. We’ve felt really safe opening our indoor dining room with all of the fresh air flow.
Tell me about the Junk Food Wine Dinner. So many of us have been ordering delivery and doing takeout and drive-thru during the pandemic. So we thought it would be fun to elevate those to-go favorites and develop a wine dinner around these dishes and which wines would pair well with them. Zoë Curren develops a lot of our wine dinner ideas with her grandparents, Tuck and Kate Curren, who are the owners of Duet. Zoë is a wine rep for Premium Brands, so the three work together to create the themes and ideas behind these events. It’s something special to see their talented family work together to come up with our wine dinners.
What is in the future for Duet? With the jazz club portion closed for the foreseeable future, we are building music into our weekends with live music on our covered patio on Friday and Saturday evenings as well as Sunday brunch. We’ve planned a few months’ worth of fun wine/spirit/beer dinners on Wednesdays. The pandemic, as we know, is completely unpredictable so we can’t predict the future but we are doing our best to adapt to the changing conditions as they occur.
Anything you want to add? Other upcoming wine dinners for September: European Vacation Wine Dinner on Sept. 23, Caribbean Wine Dinner on Sept. 30