From the dining room to the window, Lazy Tulip finds its way
“We were on Maple Avenue with a 40 seat restaurant and rocking it until COVID hits,” owner said of subsequent move to Bradford Street
It’s a small window that you might not want to go through.
When running a once-busy 40-seat restaurant no longer seemed to suffice, Lazy Tulip Cafe owner Michelle Huggins decided to serve her customers a different way: through an exterior service window.
Located behind the longtime Midway Diner on Bradford Street, she and her Lazy Tulip staff slide incredible food through the tiny window.
Think keto chicken salad, apple and pecan French toast, and homemade spinach and cheddar muffins, served with cappuccino and latte.
The time to go smaller and more efficient had come, says Huggins Barrie today.
â€œWe were on Maple Avenue with a 40-seat restaurant and we rocked it until COVID hit,â€ she says.
â€œThen, for various reasons, I decided I needed to take a step back from the restaurant industry as we know it,â€ says Huggins, â€œand set up this little place to take out. back of the Midway Diner, which my best friend Matthew Jones owns.
Today what was once an unused part of the great restaurant is a functioning business.
â€œI decided to cut my rent by a fifth and just do take out, take a step back and see where the industry is going,â€ Huggins said. â€œThere was opening and closing and having to constantly reinvent yourself. You’d be open and you stocked everything up and then all of a sudden, ‘Oh, we’re shutting down in two days and you’ve got all this inventory.’
“It was tiring. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
The restaurateur says she loves the Barrie neighborhood where the store is located, but also the arrangement with the Midway Diner, something that could be seen more in the restaurant industry, she suggests.
â€œIn the winter I expect it to be slow, but in the summer I’m actually the closest cafe to the beach,â€ Huggins says. â€œI have all these condos here and obviously when it gets hotter I have all this foot traffic.
â€œI think that sharing spaces is also the future. The rents are so expensive, â€she adds. “Say you’re a place for dinner. Why not share with a breakfast / lunch spot? Something like that.
â€œWe both have breakfast and lunch and we’re not even competing against each other. It works really well. We support each other and help each other for the costs.
Uber and Skip the Dishes are also a large part of its deliveries and throughout the holiday season there will be additional dining options.
Huggins will soon be preparing for winter – moving away from it.
â€œMy staff have been with me for three and a half years now, so they’ve already been through three winters without me,â€ she laughs.
â€œWe’re really going to scale down our operations,â€ Huggins says. â€œI only have three employees now, because that’s all I need. I’m leaving for the winter and I can leave my restaurant in their hands and I can be confident that they will run it as if they were me.
In these uncertain times of a pandemic, that kind of confidence goes a long way.
â€œYou have to take care of your staff. You have to pay them well, â€she said. “You have to understand when they go through things – whether it is their mental health or what they are going through – and you have to be there for them.
â€œYou support them and let them know that they have a job when they go through everything they go through. “
Lazy Tulip Cafe is located at 151 Bradford St., on the John Street side.