Local restaurant thrives despite pandemic

IRONDALE, Ala. (WBRC) - The National Restaurant Association said the restaurant industry will likely never rebound to its pre-pandemic state.

But one local restaurant is adjusting to a new normal and thriving.

You may know Slide restaurant by its former name Eat at Panoptic. The owner and executive chef of the restaurant took some time to rebrand and rethink her business and said it’s even better than before, despite the pandemic.

“Absolutely. I agree. The restaurant industry will not be the same,” said Chef Raquel Ervin.

Restaurant owners and their customers are getting used to a new normal.

And while patrons will still be able to enjoy their favorite foods at Slide, formerly known as Eat at Panoptic, they’ll notice one obvious change.

“We are going to have higher prices. That’s just what it is. We don’t see it going down. It’s been now over a year since we had the first really big price increase as far as product is concerned,” she explained.

Chef Raquel said the industry is also still dealing with staffing shortages.

The problem shuttered her business for four months.

“So, back in August, I had to close. My last employee walked out, and I was no longer able to do it by myself. For about a week, I was in here hustling it by myself. Worst idea I could have ever tried to do, but you know, as your baby, you’re just passionate about it and try to do what you can to help your business survive,” Chef Raquel said.

But the “baby” is thriving now.

Chef Raquel said she has a fully staffed kitchen of dedicated employees who are like family. She’s also added curbside pick-up and delivery for customers who don’t feel comfortable coming inside.

And soon you’ll be able to eat her famous sliders in more locations.

“Basically, just sticking the course and making sure I’m doing exactly what the customers are looking for in the middle of the pandemic with prices changing and things like that. Kind of just working with my suppliers you know just get the feedback from the community and things like that just to try to keep business afloat,” she said.

Chef Raquel is planning to open a second Slide location in Pelham this summer.

Customers are already enjoying Slide in Irondale, and her Eat at Panoptic food truck and catering.


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Chasity Maxie

Chasity Maxie

Chasity Maxie joined the WBRC FOX6 News family in April of 2020, but her journey here has had many twists and turns. Chasity is a Chicago native who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies at Northern Illinois University.