A look back at how Newcastle businesses worked their way through COVID-19
For many of us the last few months have been pretty rough, what started out as a few event cancellations turned into empty restaurants, offices, bars, cafes, home-schooling and a completely altered way of life.
Despite the challenges, many businesses powered on in order to keep things kicking, so rather than dwell on the negative we've created a highlights package of some of the positive moments we captured.
For some, Covid-19 proved to be a good time to make those final adjustments and get business-ready. One of the opening highlights was King St Deli & Bar who forged ahead providing takeaway deli delights instead. Lane Espresso Bar on Brunker Road also timed their opening just as restrictions came in place, but that didn't let that stop them from offering their signature style of coffee to locals.
Lake Macq scored itself a bulk refill store during lockdown called, Community Refill, who provide 100% natural beauty, personal care and cleaning products. Baked Uprising used their time wisely shutting down for a small reno and installation of a massive new oven so they can now serve more of those baked goods we've all come to love.
Supporting The Community
One thing we’ve loved seeing happening across town is the huge community spirit and support happening between not only friends and family but businesses. Newy Burger Co worked alongside many local businesses and individuals to donate over 2500 meals, over $5000 in vouchers, 500 bottles of hand sanitiser and a heap of grocery items and yummy baked goods to those who needed it.
We also saw the Wallsend hole-in-the-wall coffee spot, Wildflower Espresso, make it easy for individuals to pre-purchase a coffee for healthcare workers with their Pay It Forward program as did the Mayfield West foodie stop; Steel River takeaway.
With some businesses looking to keep things interesting or changing things up, we saw a few exciting collaborations hit the foodie scene. Pino’s Diner took over the kitchen at the Hunter St watering hole favourite; The Family Hotel and Binnie Beef and Susuru working together to create the month-long special of The Wagyu Rib Kuppa Ramen. More recently, we saw the announcement of Nagisa and Styx Brewery joining forces to bring Newcastle two nights of gin and Japanese degustation; what a grouping!
Distillery Turns Clean
Only opening late last year, Earp Distilling made the most of a rough situation by using their facilities to pump out sanitiser. These were so popular we were seeing them pop up on shop counters all across the city.
Pubs Turn Into Bottle Shops
Many pubs across the city didn’t let restrictions stop them from supplying their regulars with some good booze and friendly banter. The Grain Store and The Great Northern amongst the many that temporarily swapped out their restaurant and bar spaces for a fully stocked bottle shop.
Whilst we were all doing our bit to stay in, bars across town were doing their bit to bring happy hour right to our doors. Coal and Cedar started with their whisky sample packs, then Blue Kahunas with their online bar offering and Koutetsu and 5 Sawyers shortly following suit.
However, possibly the highlight of lockdown was without a doubt Brew Bike Nitro and those home-delivered espresso martinis! With no plans originally to deliver his product to homes Covid19 created the perfect opportunity for Jesse to alter his offering to Espresso Martini starved locals.
Fine Dining at Home
When fine dining is available from the comfort of your own home, it’s definitely something to celebrate (or at least worth mentioning). With both of our local highly sought-after restaurants, Subo and Restaurant Mason developing an at-home menu; we were all enjoying a moment of fine dining with the option to wear track pants. The Hunter Valley had an equally at-home dining offering with The Deck Cafe creating a 5-course degustation menu, owner Matt Dillow also provided a virtual cooking class to help guide you cook and plate up your delicious dishes.