As adaptability and community service are concepts around which Lodgic Everyday Community — a project of fraternal organization Moose International (hence the “d” in “Lodgic”) — was founded, they were perhaps in a unique position to view the COVID-19 pandemic as a challenge to carry out their mission in new ways. Although the workspace and childcare aspects of the community had to be put on hold during the stay-at-home order (both are re-opening with appropriate guidelines in place in accordance with social-distancing), Clever Moose Cafe and Everyday Kitchen Restaurant and Bar continued to provide meals via carryout and delivery. Recently, as patio dining has become allowed, both have been able to accommodate in-person dining once again.
To get more information about how their dining operations have evolved (and to pick up a few yummy recommendations), I interviewed Teresa Brown Lodgic Everyday Community’s managing director.
Smile Politely: Can you talk about your role at Lodgic?
Teresa Brown: My role is the best combination of general manager, community ambassador, figurehead, foodie, entrepreneur, culture curator, camp director, and hands-on hospitality provider.
SP: What is your favorite drink and bite on the menu?
Brown: My favorite morning drink is a hand-crafted iced caramel cold brew, and my favorite one to unwind with is the lavender-mint margarita. My favorite bite is the buttermilk fried chicken cobb or any special our chef creates. I’m also always up for one of our homemade chocolate chip cookies mid-afternoon.
SP: You normally offer so much in the way of dining options (a full coffee bar menu, quick-service meals all day, plus sit-down lunch and dinner–in addition to weekend brunch): what are the basics about how you’re delivering all of those now?
Brown: When we decided to move forward with curbside pickup and delivery, we wanted to extend comfort in an uncomfortable time. We created our own in-house delivery option and ordering platform as it was important to us that the hospitality experience of Everyday Kitchen and Clever Moose was handled by us personally in as many ways as possible. We also utilize third party platforms of GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats so that we can be found wherever someone might choose to look.
SP: Carryout and delivery are typically important aspects of a restaurant’s operation, even when there are no social distancing restrictions. How has the current situation caused your carryout and delivery system to evolve?
Brown: While we had always planned to offer curbside and delivery at some point, we had to move this right up to the top. Not only were we now offering new services in a unique environment, but we were also adapting to unknown and different dining patterns and making in-the-moment adjustments for what our customers were telling us they were looking for. Making sure that everything we were doing could be done safely for our staff and guests has always been and will remain our top priority. Our staff also had to adapt on ways to connect through PPE and distance; as hospitality professionals our smile is our greeting card.
SP: Are there changes you’ve made to adapt to the stay-at-home order that you can see yourself carrying into the future?
Brown: Expanded patio service and size. We are able to provide distance without sacrificing the feeling of connection you feel when dining out.
SP: What are some of your most popular carryout times?
Brown: Friday dinners, Saturday and Sunday brunch, and those early morning coffee runs.
SP: Let’s say someone wants to order something off your menu that will make them feel full and happy all day long. What would you recommend?
Brown: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes; chicken and chorizo chilaquiles; Belvedere club sandwich (and don’t skip the house-cut fries!).
SP: On the other end of the spectrum, what are some of your favorite light bites?
Brown: Acai bowl, avocado toast, a bowl of one of our house made soups, spitfire chicken spinach, and kale salad.
SP: Now that patio seating is open, what should diners know before they come to enjoy a meal out at Everyday Kitchen?
Brown: We take reservations and would love to see you! Our servers are in masks and gloves, and they’re here to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time.
SP: Are there any new dishes you’re excited to recommend?
Brown: We’ll be switching to our summer menu soon, and there are some great new additions coming: New Orleans style French toast, ricotta gnocchi, and low-country shrimp and grits.
SP: Since patios and cool drinks go hand-in-hand, which ones do you think patrons should be ordering right now?
Brown: Honeybee iced tea, hibiscus tea lemonade, greenhouse martini (with cucumber vodka and fresh basil), perennial fizz (champagne, vodka and grapefruit juice just says patio time), and, of course, my favorite: lavender-mint margarita.
SP: What about a fun treat for the younger set? What do you have to wow the kiddos right now?
Brown: While we don’t have a special kids menu, we have many items for the kids and kids at heart: spaghetti and meatballs, five-cheese mac n’ cheese, flatbreads, and cheeseburgers.
SP: Anything else you’d like to share with the C-U community?
Brown: As a non-profit, 100% of our proceeds are re-invested locally and nationally to support children, families, and communities. I encourage everyone reading to check us out at www.lodgic.org.
Lodgic Everyday Community
1807 S Neil St
M-Th 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 4 to 9 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 4 to 10 p.m.
Sa 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 4 to 10 p.m.
Su 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 4 to 9 p.m.
Clever Moose Cafe
M-F 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sa+Su 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.