Livermore restaurant shuts down kitchen amid coronavirus, but finds another way to serve food

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) -- The line outside the Hop DeVine restaurant in Livermore snakes around the corner and through the parking lot about a half block.

Each person has an appointment to pick up one or more ten pound boxes of fresh, individually wrapped beef, pork, chicken or seafood.

"I'm literally winging this. Every five minutes things are changing," said Hop DeVine owner Rusty Skinner.

Skinner had to shut down his two restaurants and lay off 80 employees when the shelter in place order came.

But then he had an idea after spending four hours in a supermarket - and finding very little of what he wanted to buy.

"And I realized real quick that we had an avenue and an access to groceries that people can't get to" he said.

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Skinner began offering people the opportunity to buy meat and vegetables from his wholesalers. This was the first pick-up day, and although the beef shipment was a little late - Dave and Michelle Goodwin of Pleasanton thought it was still a good deal.

"We thought this is a great way to stock up on some stuff if we're going to have to shelter down for the next god knows how long," Dave Goodwin said.

Selections and prices are shown on the restaurant Facebook page.

Orders are taken by email. It normally takes about three days to process, so no same day pick-ups.

Skinner charges a $10 per order service fee, but these folks are happy to pay it.

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"I know I can buy packets for my ailing parents in San Jose and I'll be bringing all of that stuff down there," said Jinger Leonard-Norton of Livermore.
Mike Burnaugh of Livermore says:

"This was an opportunity to buy some maybe better quality meat that we didn't have a chance to get," said Mike Burnaugh, of Livermore.

According to customer Tamara Iwatate, she says she wants enough to get through a matter of weeks.

"We don't need a lot, we just need enough to get four people through the next few weeks," she said.

Skinner says this effort is allowing him to slowly bring back some of his 80 laid off workers, six of them so far.

That number should increase because he's going to two pick-up days per week, starting next week because of growing demand.

Orders can be sent to orders@hopdevine.net.
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