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INDY, MASS AVE. – The unfolding crisis of small restaurants, donut shops, and coffee joints is not really going to be felt until the unfolding Coronavirus crisis passes.

These businesses are the backbone of our economy just as much as Boeing, Apple, and GE. Such businesses are run by your neighbors, common town folk, and struggling entrepreneurs.

The enforced closing, now just a few days in effect, is going to be devastating if you don’t help. That’s right – you.

I grew up working in my Mom’s small restaurant in our small town. I watched her work 10-11-12 hour days for years. The business did well but no one got rich. Restaurants work on margins less than 10 percent and most often in the 3-5 percent range.


Bru Burger’s hamburger and fries.

In other words, they can’t survive many bumps in the road. Those bumps are Hoosier-size potholes for at least the near future. But you can do something about it. I’m retired and work about 3-4 evenings a week. I’ve decided I’ll get out to a local restaurant every few days for lunch carry out. And, I’m going to write short reviews here.

There are lists of restaurants open for carry out on several websites, including the Indianapolis Star. Or you can take the old-fashioned approach and just call your favorite lunch spot.

I have been in the mood for a burger for weeks. So I called Bru Burger on Mass Ave and order a Burger and fries. It was ready when I arrived and they were all happy to see me. The young lady taking my money said Wednesday was their first day of carry-out only and business was good. At 1:30 p.m. today (Thursday), it had been slower but it also rained quite steady through the noon hour.

The burger and fries were awesome. I had eaten there a few times before. My only critique was the soft and tasty bun could have been toasted. Toasting the bun on carry out would really help for take home food. But it’s a noon time carry out I can heartily recommend.

One other point, restaurant workers are not that highly paid to start with and now business it down. Be sure to tip generously.

You’ll find burger joints, coffee shops, and  fine dining restaurants on most listings. Some are offering their full regular menus while many have special carry-out menus for these tough times.

I’ve seen posts on social media imploring readers to support small, locally-owned business in this crisis. Those post a reminder that these are the people who support Little League, the orchestra, and other local charities. You need them and now they need you.

I can’t say it any better.