SWEET HOME — Some call it karma.
Others say “What goes ‘round comes ‘round.”
And still others note, “You reap what you sow.”
However one looks at it, Michael and Mira Hall, owners of The Point Restaurant overlooking Foster Reservoir on the east edge of Sweet Home, feel blessed by the outpouring of community goodwill after Gov. Kate Brown closed sit-down restaurants, taverns and bars due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tears flowed when the Halls heard the news.
The restaurant business is difficult even in good times. What was going to happen to the mom-and-pop businesses’ faithful employees?
The Halls have owned The Point for 10 years, but Michael has been associated with it since he started mowing grass for former owner Bernice Waddle when he was just 13 years old.
The news surrounding the governor’s stay-at-home order to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was devastating, the Halls admit.
“But you can either be a victim or you can choose to do something,” Michael Hall said.
Hall said he began calling his regular customers letting them know The Point was going to focus on its take-out and delivery services.
Hall has also used social media on a regular basis and upped that game as well, posting photos of each day’s specials.
The Point has had delivery service for some time. Now, working with a greatly depleted staff, Hall and his crew are providing drive-up, take-out and delivery service three meals per day.
And while business is off about 50%, Hall has been overwhelmed by how the community has rallied and orders are flowing in.
The Halls have been strong community supporters, donating money, talent and food for everything from the annual Sportsman’s Holiday Court to Trees for Scholars, to Sunshine Industries for adults with disabilities.
For years their crew cooked and served hundred Thanksgiving meals free to all comers. If there is a need in the community of 9,000 they can be counted on to help in some way.
Now, the community is repaying their generosity.
Breakfast can be ordered all day. Anything on the regular menu can be ordered for take-out or delivery. Minimum delivery order is $20, but there is no delivery charge.
“We thought about streamlining the menu, but people should be able to get what they like,” Hall said.
A sign in the restaurant’s waiting area reads, “We appreciate you more than you know. Thank you.”
“There are always highs and lows in the restaurant business,” Hall said. “There have been times over the years, when things were tough and someone needed a donation, we still did something. Now, we are the ones being blessed.”
Hall called the community’s response, “mind blowing.”
Hall said he is fortunate that his employees “love their jobs and love working at The Point.”
He has had to trim his staff of 33 to about 13, which was an extremely difficult task and he looks forward to getting back to normal and bringing his loyal employees back on board.
Team leader Trisha King is an example of his staff’s dedication. Five years ago, while traveling through Sweet Home from her home in Topeka, Kansas, King saw The Point and decided she wanted to work there.
She contacted Hall and was so persistent, he eventually hired her.
Thursday afternoon, King was hustling the numerous orders that had been called in from the kitchen area to a staging table, where fellow employee and team leader Callie Baker handed them over to a steady stream of dinner-time customers.
Hall said The Point is a destination for many mid-valley residents.
“We also have many regulars who drive from the coast to Bend and always stop in,” Hall said. “We are a family tradition for birthdays and anniversaries.”
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Hall had begun a Monday night special of $1 tacos and reduced price margaritas to wash them down.
Last Monday, The Point served more than 600 take-out tacos and plans to make at least 800 this Monday.
Several community members have also held tailgaters in The Point’s parking lot. Milt and Jane Moran recently set up a small table and two chairs to celebrate their anniversary there.
“We’ve had lots of people call and buy gift cards for their parents,” Hall said. “We just had a call today and the person ordered $450 in gift cards for their family members.”
Hall estimates that about 20% of orders have been for delivery and 80% are drive-up.
Breakfast has been a little slow, Hall said, but lunch and dinner orders have been brisk.
Cecil Bridge is one of The Point’s Thursday night regulars. He and his wife Mary like turkey sandwiches and Hall noted, “with crispy fries for him.”
“We like consistency,” Bridge said as he picked up two meals to go. “This is a form of normalcy for us.”
Chelsi Suttle dropped by to pick up a large order — seafood dishes and a prime rib dinner, The Point’s specialty — “because the food is always good. I’ve known Mike for a long time and he’s amazing. This service is a life saver for those of us who are still working.”
Retired high school teacher and coach Tom Horn picked up an order after a round of golf on a sunny afternoon.
As with most small town businesses, The Point is family owned and operated.
“My wife is the first one in and the last one out every day,” Hall said.
To order, call 541-367-1560 or visit http://pointsweethome.com/.
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