Page 6 - Scene Magazine 45-08 August 2020
P. 6

  Did You Know?
   Did You Know that for some, although this pandemic has been, to say the least challenging, has also had its positive effects? Ross Simpson,
Ross Simpson Clara’s on the River
   Ross and his staff in the Fireplace room at the restaurant.
owner of the restaurant, Clara’s on the River in downtown Battle Creek told me, “The safety net worked for us.” The restaurant had to close like so many small businesses, but the money the government made available helped him make changes to his business so that they could reopen with the safety of customers and staff the priority.
“We haven’t fully recovered yet, and my fingers are crossed that we will, but we are open, our staff is working, and many of our customers are returning,” Ross says. That’s good news for the guy who started in the restaurant business when he was 14! Oh, was I supposed
to tell you that? When asked how old
he was for his first dishwashing job he told them his birthday was next week... he didn’t tell them it was his 15th birthday and not his 16th! Ross lived
in the metro Detroit area then and he was influenced by the owner who told him to think twice about getting into the restaurant business. Ross listened but ended up in the restaurant business at Clara’s in Lansing and then opening this Clara’s in 1992 and eventually becom- ing its sole owner.
I lived other places, like Toronto and
I really liked Toronto... but Michigan drew me back and I’m glad it did,” Ross told me. When asked what he liked about the restaurant business he didn’t hesitate, “It’s the people I meet and the people I work with. My staff keep me young,” he told me. “These young peo- ple are our future. They see this time as a challenge and they will rise above it.” Ross also said, “I get to meet everyone in town.”
When you think touchless you should consider the changes a restaurant must do to comply. It starts at the entrance, wave your hand and the doors open,
“Like so many people from Michigan,
The building Clara’s is in is also a reason he enjoys the opportunity to own the business. “I see myself and the staff as the caretakers of this place... it’s a legacy of the city that we are entrusted with,” Ross says. That brings me to the changes he’s made to match the guide- lines the state has mandated for this small business to operate safely.
at your table. The carpet is new (and beautiful) and it runs the entire length of the restaurant from the fireplace all the way to the banquet room, which is now being used as the workshop because all the tables have a new top and refinished frames. The bathrooms have to be expe- rienced in order to appreciate the term “touchless.” (I’ll leave it at that.) Even the kitchen has touchless features... the orders are placed electronically and appear on monitors in the kitchen so paper orders which would be touched by servers and kitchen staff are eliminated.
the staff will keep a safe distance and ask you to do the same as they show you to your table which is six feet from the nearest table. The utensils you’ll be using are not placed on the table until you are. Everyone is wearing a mask and you will too until you are seated
T. R. Shaw Jr. Co-Founder / CEO / 269-209-5555 cell / Kathy Shaw Co-Founder / President / 269-209-9719 cell /
Ross invites you to experience Clara’s again. You can enjoy the re- modeled interior or, while the weather is warm, outside on the patio. You can also order food ahead to be delivered curbside.
Ross is proud of his staff and the restaurant they all call “home.” He hopes you will make Clara’s a place to enjoy a bit of the historic and the renewed Battle Creek.

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