Welcome back to the Happy Half Hour! This week’s guest is Kris Buchanan, owner of Goodonya Organics and Goodonya Organic Eatery in Encinitas. Kris has been in the restaurant business for a long time, having founded the organic deli back in 2001 and expanded it to five locations before opening the full-service restaurant in 2015. She tells us how she got into the business, and we learned that she is an Olympian! She was on the USA National Field Hockey Team and went to the 1996 Olympics, and she’s in the field hockey Hall of Fame.
We brought Kris on the show to hear what it’s been like for restaurant owners, managers, and workers having to enforce mask wearing among customers. Not only do staff have to deal with the customer who becomes irate when denied entry for not wearing a mask, they also have to mitigate concerns from people who get upset when they see another customer not wearing one. Kris shares the difficulty that her hosts and servers have experienced, and says they’re neither equipped nor trained to handle these types of confrontations—young women, especially, are scared for their own physical safety when they’re caught being the referee between two customers. The abuse that restaurant workers have experienced over this issue has been making headlines nationally, and even McDonald’s announced that they’re providing de-escalation training for their employees.
Kris also gave us some information about the Restaurants Act, and we talk about a report from the Independent Restaurant Coalition predicting that 85 percent of small restaurants won’t make it without any aid.
In Hot Plates, we discussed the news that Jayne’s Gastropub in Normal Heights won’t be reopening. Brian Malarkey’s Animae has rebooted and gone alfresco with a revamped menu. The Huntress, a high-end steakhouse in the same building as Lumi by Akira Back, recently opened in the Gaslamp with a menu of family meals available for curbside pickup. Chula Vista started a new program closing off a portion of Third Avenue every Sunday, and we recommended visiting Chula Vista Brewery, one of the few Black-owned craft breweries in San Diego. Last, Cutwater Spirits is providing lunch for laid-off restaurant and bar workers this Saturday: bring an old pay stub or business card to their tasting room in Miramar.
We always end the show on a lighter note with the Two People for Takeout segment. Kris said her favorite is Birdseye Kitchen, a women-owned business in Leucadia, and she recommends the massaman curry. Troy is excited about the panang curry at Soi Thai Street Food, which just opened a new location in Ocean Beach. David recommends the Taylor ham roll and rosemary-and-salt bagels at Nomad Donuts, and my pick is the stingray tacos and micheladas to go at TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita.
Thank you for listening! As always, we want to hear from our listeners. Do you have a question for Troy? Need a recommendation for takeout? Is there a guest you want us to book on the show? Or do you need help finding out whether a restaurant will be reopening? Let us know! You can call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a voicemail, or if you’re too shy, you can email us at [email protected].