On The Menu
By Guy D’Astolfo
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – O’Donold’s Irish Pub and Grill will reopen on Aug. 14 – provided the coronavirus is under control at that time.
Christian Rinehart, owner of the popular downtown bar and restaurant, is timing the reopening to coincide with the start of the fall semester at Youngstown State University.
As it now stands, YSU will reopen its campus for the fall semester with the first day of classes Aug. 17. The campus has been closed since March.
O’Donold’s days and hours of operation will be reduced, at least initially; it will likely not be open for lunch.
Rinehart also owns Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts and Rhine Haus Bier Hall, which are next to each other on North Phelps Street, downtown. Those establishments will reopen as soon as the Phelps Street pedestrian mall project is finished. The project, which will convert a block of the street to pedestrian thoroughfare, will likely be complete in August.
Like many downtown bar and restaurant owners, Rinehart kept his places closed because it would not be profitable to reopen with reduced capacity and with many downtown offices closed and foot traffic all but gone. Eight weeks after they were permitted to reopen, many downtown restaurants remain closed or on a reduced schedule.
But another reason factored into Rinehart’s decision: he had a bout with COVID-19.
Rinehart was never hospitalized, but the disease kept him bed-ridden at his home for five weeks. Knowing first-hand how hard the disease hits, he wants to make sure his customers and employees – and their families – stay safe.
He expects the downtown entertainment district will make something of a recovery once YSU reopens, but his confidence level is not high.
“Downtown scares me for the next six months to a year,” Rinehart said, referring to the bar and restaurant scene.
“No one is going downtown. Once school is back, it will return to normal, but what is the new normal?”
He said every safety and sanitization protocol will be in effect at all of his restaurants.
Rinehart also owns Mission Taco and another Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts location in Huntington Place Plaza in Boardman.
Mission Taco has been open for weeks and the Suzie’s was gearing up to reopen until an employee contracted COVID-19. “We brought our people back but one tested positive, so we had to shut down for 18 days,” Rinehart said. The employees were instructed to quarantine and will be tested again before reopening.
Rinehart also sponsors the Mission Night Market, a series of events in the Huntington Place parking lot that feature vendors, live music and food. The night markets, which take place every month in the warm months, had been canceled this year, but could resume in August, he said.
Posted July 16, 2020
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