Late yesterday afternoon I popped into River Tyme Bistro and started to order a sensible cup of Peach Rooibos tea, when I small sign caught my eye.
“Homemade hot toddies,” it said.
“Ooooooo,” I thought, as I often do.
And, that’s how I found myself sitting outside on a pretty patio on an ordinary Thursday afternoon, sipping a delicious hot toddy and watching white seagulls dance against the colorful autumn sky.
Not bad, Appleton. Not bad at all.
Several people mentioned River Tyme Bistro as a place to check out in my quest to feature area businesses who are rising to the challenge of 2020. I’m glad I did.
It isn’t easy to launch a business in the middle of a pandemic, but the folks at River Tyme Bistro are giving it their all. They offer a full menu with dinner specials, featured cocktails and homemade bakery; indoor or outdoor socially distant seating and curbside pickup.
They also have come up with some creative options for these crazy times, including date night baskets and get well soon packages that include homemade chicken noodle soup. On Saturdays, they offer a Music at a Distance Happy Hour with live local music from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
I’m looking forward to returning soon to enjoy what looked like some very tasty menu options.
I popped into the bakery as well yesterday on my afternoon constitutional. I needed to order a half birthday cake for a young friend of mine who is turning 11 1/2 on Saturday and Simple Simon has whipped up some amazing birthday cakes for me and my family.
Since COVID-19, Simple Simon and other area bakeries have had to make up for a loss of corporate business. With so many people working from home, companies are not ordering their customary giant trays of donuts or hamburger and hotdog buns.
So, the bakers got creative. They have been selling seasonal cookie decorating kits that have been popular with families, a “donut of the month” in addition to their regular offerings, and they upped their cupcake game and now feature giant ones with unique flavors like bacon and frenchtoast and a Think Pink variety in honor of breast cancer awareness month. (Simple Simon will donate $1 to breast cancer research for every Think Pink cupcake sold).
I’m told they also have some big winter plans for their famous donut hut.
To keep themselves and shoppers safe, they installed plexiglass at the register and limit the number of people who can be inside the store at one time. They also offer contactless pickup and delivery.
Simple Simon Bakery has been around since 1967 and has learned a thing or two about navigating through rough times. It’s been inspiring to see how they have adjusted to this crazy year.
I know I’ve written about Blue Moon Emporium before, but I really can’t say enough about how my friend Cathy has been guiding her small shop through this pandemic.
When the COVID-19 infection rates get too high, she closes her doors and switches to online only orders that are shipped and, in some cases, delivered to her customers’ doors.
Wendy, a friend of mine and one of the people who mentioned that I should feature Blue Moon Emporium, said, “I ordered a birthday present online for my son living in California and it was delivered the same day my card was sent!”
Cathy’s unique merchandise features the work of local artists and her one-of-a-kind clothing is always comfy and charming. I recently bought myself, and then, for her birthday, my sister Kathy, a T-shirt that reads “I’m smiling under this mask.”
Cathy’s most recent creative attempt to keep her lovely business, which has lost 40% of its revenue in the wake of this pandemic, afloat is to offer a Patreon subscription for which subscribers will receive what she calls “a little piece of my (he)art,” mini prints of her hand-drawn watercolor paintings.
Of course, I jumped in because I love Cathy’s work.
Let me know what you think of these latest featured businesses and please keep sending me suggestions of places you enjoy.
Take care out there!