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Commerce City restaurant holds 'last supper' before indoor dining is prohibited

El Jardin Mexican Restaurant held its "last supper" Nov. 19, before they switch to takeout only starting Friday.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — As restaurants in counties under level red COVID-19 dial restrictions prepare to shut down indoor dining tomorrow, one restaurant owner in Commerce City isn’t too worried about the new restrictions.

“Because we've gone through this process already before, learning how to do takeout only, we're fairly confident that we can get through this one again,” Ben Martinez said, owner of El Jardin Mexican Restaurant.

Martinez called tonight the “last supper," their last night allowing indoor dining before Friday's restrictions. He said there was an hour-long wait at some points of the night.

All restaurants are facing challenges right now, but Martinez said that making money isn’t what is most important right now.

“For us right now, it’s not about profit, it’s about keeping our staff employed and getting them weekly paychecks,” Martinez said. “They have rent, they have bills that they have to pay too.”

Credit: Ben Martinez
People wait to get seated at El Jardin for "last supper"

Last March, when restaurants were forced to shut down, EL Jardin was able to thrive off of takeout orders. They transformed their parking lot into a curbside pickup lane and processed all payments online, so guests could have a contact-free pickup.

Martinez said they figured another indoor dining shut-down would happen, so they have prepared by already having 10,000 boxes and 20,000 drink containers ready to go for takeout orders.

Credit: Ben Martinez
Pickup Gazebo at El Jardin

Fortunately for El Jardin, the food isn’t the only thing that drives their customers. Martinez said their alcohol sales have actually gone up since allowing to-go margaritas.

“People really enjoy the margaritas,” Martinez said.

Martinez stays hopeful and has plans in place to help boost sales during this next round of takeout only. He said El Jardin will provide chips and salsa for free with orders and promote a special every day for $9.

“Right now it's about survival and hopefully we can get through this and then see what happens in the upcoming year.” Martinez said.

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