By Esteban Lopez
On March 16th, the Lost Parrot Cafe closed to the public due to the coronavirus arriving in our beloved South Pasadena community. The cafe closed for two main reasons; some of the employees didn’t feel safe going to work because they didn’t know how the coronavirus could affect them and customers just stopped coming in altogether. By that same weekend sales had already dropped by 50%.
When the cafe temporarily closed, the community and the cafe were facing changes that no one could have foreseen. While the shop closed, the community showed their support for the cafe to reopen. One anonymous customer put a sign on the window of the cafe that read, “we miss you.” Throughout the Lost Parrot Cafe’s social media, a lot of people in the community reached out and asked how they could help, whether it was asking if they could buy a gift card or wanting to know when they will be open in order to support them with their patronage.
These reactions from the community have been a motivation for the cafe’s team with Head Barista Winston Secrest being “super thankful for how much [the community] has already reached out, how much drive they have given us just by checking-in.”
Chef Jeana Pecha also stated, “I think the community in this [cafe] is everything. Even when I’m here cleaning or cooking, we hear people knocking on the door asking when we’re open. I think that pushes us so much harder to not only open sooner but open better and give them a better product because they have been so patient, excited and willing to help us.”
As most of us have had to step away from our normal routine and face a new reality due to the coronavirus infecting our lives, so too has the cafe had a moment to step away from daily routines and assess their situation. For the Lost Parrot, re-opening (or re-integrating), into the community has come after much self-evaluation and adaptation to that new reality.
The Lost Parrot Cafe will be reopening tomorrow, Thursday, May 28th at 8:00 a.m.. It is interesting to note that the reopening of the cafe comes at their two year anniversary of being in business. The cafe will now be open from Thursday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and they plan to extend their hours of operation and the services they provide, as they evolve amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
By adhering to health and safety policies and practices, the community will have safe and new ways to make orders from home or through mobile. Orders can be made through various apps including Joe, a mobile coffee ordering app that supports independent, community oriented cafes. Guests can also make orders by visiting the Lost Parrot Cafe website or by calling in.
The goal is to make ordering safe for customers as well as employees, reducing the need for cash transfers and directing payment processes online or over the phone. Not only has the cafe changed how they will be safely servicing the South Pasadena Community but new services will also be implicated at the re-opening.
The Lost Parrot Cafe will be featuring a new market service called, the Oneonta Market, which pays homage to the market that once existed in the same building as the cafe over a hundred years ago. The market will be available online 24 hours a day 7 days a week with pick up times that coincide with the cafe hours.
Dinner service will now be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The dinner menu will consist of favorite meals from the original cafe menu and adjusted slightly to be better prepared for to-go orders. Although the menu has been adjusted, “we’re going to continue to make sure all our food is healthy and really well sourced, [with the] best products we can get,” stated Pecha. All dinners will include wine and will be ready for 2, 4, and 6 people with both pick up or delivery options available. Ultimately, the changes the Lost Parrot has had to make is a way for it to continue to service its surrounding community that has shown them support throughout the years including this pandemic.
Independent businesses like the Lost Parrot Cafe are integral to South Pasadena. In a small way, this has been highlighted by the community reaching out to the cafe and asking how they can be of support or when they will be open again.
Cafes are known for being central city hubs, where people can come together to meet with friends, have business meetings, get homework done, or even just have a place to go to for a cup of coffee and strike up a conversation with your neighbor. Owner of the Lost Parrot Cafe, Justin Prietto, points out, “If [South Pasadenans] want to continue having a similar city that we have, supporting small business is a big part of that. South Pasadena has a very unique ability to keep every single one of its businesses intact because we have things like the Chamber of Commerce and SPEF, to get the word out and keep the town intact.”
As previously mentioned , the cafe closed because people stopped going to work which in effect temporarily lost customers, but the desire and demand for the cafe remained. We, as a group of tightly knight neighbors, now have the opportunity to decide which businesses will stay and go in our lovely community. Prietto goes on to say, “It’s the idea that If a large group of people change what they do a little bit, they can change everything about [South Pasadena]. Considering slight shifts in their normal routine to support the locals, is going to be a huge, huge thing.”
Fore more information, please visit the Lost Parrot Cafe at www.lostparrotcafe.com