When a fire broke out in the back room of Sharon’s Café on New Year’s Eve, it not only forced the South Corvallis diner to close for repairs — it also threw the whole staff out of work.
A GoFundMe page raised just over $1,000 to help cover immediate expenses for the unemployed workers, but the money only went so far. All of the workers had bills to pay, and they needed jobs to tide them over until Sharon’s can reopen, which is not expected to happen until at least April.
That’s where the Angry Beaver came in.
“I had one of them come in looking for a job,” said Randy Holmes, who co-owns the Oregon State University sports-themed bar and grill at 349 SW Fourth St.
“I said, ‘Well, what are the rest of the people doing?’ She said, ‘Nothing.’”
At that point, the Angry Beaver was serving lunch and dinner every day but only offered breakfast on the weekends, and only with a limited menu. Sharon's has always been known as a breakfast place.
Holmes, who wanted to expand breakfast service to the rest of the week, had an idea.
“I said, ‘How about if we were to bring your crew down here and you do breakfast? That way I’m helping you, and you’re helping me.’”
So that’s what they did. Holmes hired the whole crew from Sharon’s Café — waitresses Lisa Feierfeil and Jennifer Kearney and cooks Jamie Vinson and Richard Garcia — and has been running a Tuesday-Sunday breakfast service since Feb. 19.
They’ve added some of the most popular dishes from the Sharon’s menu to the Angry Beaver’s morning fare. Weekend breakfasts have drawn big crowds, Holmes said, and the word is starting to get out that breakfast is now available at his place on weekdays, too.
It’s been a lifeline for the Sharon’s crew, who hadn’t had a regular paycheck since early January.
Feierfeil, who got the ball rolling when she came into the Angry Beaver looking for a job, said she and her fellow Sharon’s employees are grateful to Holmes for giving them the chance to keep working while the fire damage at their restaurant is being repaired.
“He’s been a great guy, doing this for us,” she said. “He didn’t have to. He hired all of us.”
Garcia, who was manning the kitchen on Wednesday morning, said he’s been picking up some extra shifts in addition to his breakfast duties.
“Usually I work nights,” he said. “I’m trying to get hours when I can.”
Holmes said he’s glad he was able to help them out, but he adds that his business is also benefiting from their breakfast expertise.
“It was a good combination,” he said.
“And they’re really good people,” he added. “They’re really helping me.”
All of the Sharon’s employees say they’ll return to work there when the renovations are finished and the restaurant reopens. But at least some of them may maintain ties with the Angry Beaver as well.
“I’m planning on going back, but I might also keep working here, for the extra income,” Garcia said. “(The fire) opened that door. It hasn’t been all bad.”
The Angry Beaver Sports Grill, 349 SW Fourth St., serves breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday and 6 am to noon Saturdays and Sundays. Lunch and dinner are served seven days a week.
The business opens at 11 a.m. on Mondays and is open until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and, 1 a.m. on Fridays and midnight on Saturdays.