Jenielle Frith’s Grenville Kitchen temporarily closed and is still awaiting PPP loan approval, but she intends to offer takeout and delivery starting May 4.
Just as her 5-month-old vegan restaurant and bakery, Grenville Kitchen, was picking up momentum, owner Jenielle Frith said stay-at-home orders and a lack of customers Downtown forced her to temporarily close her restaurant.
“We would make things, like the cakes and cookies and stuff, and we would end up having to toss them because we didn’t have the volume we were used to walking through the door. We didn’t have that at all,” Frith said.
Grenville Kitchen is at 311 W. Ashley St. in Downtown. Frith said the restaurant made its first appearance at Veg Fest in early March. The vegan festival that takes place three times a year in the city.
She said Grenville Kitchen saw a lot more new customers because of it.
When so many employees began working from home because of COVID-19, the restaurant “would go hours without an order.”
Frith’s mother, a nurse, also encouraged her to close for safety. Frith has asthma, and her mother worried about what could happen if she contracted the coronavirus.
She temporarily closed almost a month ago, but has plans to reopen for takeout and delivery May 4, after finding a way to operate more safely. She laid off her seven employees while the restaurant was closed, but will bring them back for the reopening.
Frith applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, but has not received funds yet. PPP loan forgiveness is based on an employer keeping or quickly rehiring employees while maintaining salary levels, according to the Small Business Administration.
The money must be used for payroll, mortgages, rent and utility payments.
During the closure, Frith continued to bake the restaurant’s vegan cakes for occasions, including birthdays and virtual weddings.
“People are still having birthdays even though they’re staying at home,” she said. “People will always eat cake.”
Frith will roll out new menu items, including sweet and sour edamame chick’n, quinoa cucumber salad, zucchini pad thai and several immunity booster supplements.
“I spent the month doing research and development as far as cooking new recipes,” she said,
Frith will launch delivery service to all parts of Jacksonville May 4. The restaurant previously delivered through Uber Eats and Grubhub, which limited deliveries to a 5-mile radius.
She hopes more people seek out plant-based eating from Grenville Kitchen as a way to boost their immune systems and stay healthy during the pandemic.
“We offer nutrient-dense meals that are not only tasty, but good for you,” she said. “I think we just continue to do that, and hopefully people gravitate toward it.”
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