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What do you think of this? Craigie and the blizzard

<<We are entirely, 100% committed to being open tomorrow at Craigie on Main. Blizzard, no blizzard, we will be serving food (menu, specials, everything TBD based on availability tomorrow) and have a large, well-stocked bar to help keep you warm. We are prepared to check snowshoes and nordic skis tomorrow and Carl may be walking around the dining room with a bottle of brandy.>>

If the storm is as bad as they say it's going to be is it right or wrong? I am thinking about their staff specifically.

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  1. Probably most of their staff live nearby. It's not uncommon for a local place to stay open in bad weather. I had quite a few great afternoons at my local pub during blizzards. No one was driving. Chillax. (I will now pound my head against the wall for saying "chillax".)

    1. I remember pondering this same question during Sandy. We were sick of being in the house, and by 6pm or so we went to a local highly regarded restaurant that was the only thing open in the vicinity. It was an interesting scene, as we were the only non-industry people there (it was a Monday night). We were thrilled that they were open, but I did feel bad for the people that had to trek all the way in to work.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mkfisher

        Where do you live? Sandy was pretty much a non event in the city. We cooked on the grill that night. Coastal areas aside, there weren't a lot of travel issues I was aware of in the area.

        As far as tomorrow is concerned, bring on the snow and I love Craigie's stance. Most of the staff is indeed local, and I'm sure they won't force any employees to travel far at risk. Fullly stocked bar is the key. There's nothing quite like storm drinking.

        1. re: Gabatta

          Well on our little walk during Sandy we narrowly missed being hit by two fallen trees and multiple tree branches. But that was during it's peak.

          But I agree that if the staff can make it safely, and they aren't forced to work why not open. Back in '09 during a storm we went to the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour, followed by a stop at Grendal's Den and a slow bar crawl up Mass Ave to Central.

      2. From my POV if the staff can get there no worries but they should not be required once Menino calls a state of emergency. While they may live near by there are many things that can snowball (pun intended) that can interfere with the ability to get to work. ie: childcare, limited bus schedules due bad roads, etc

        I used to live in Harvard Square and loved heading out to a bar during major storms!

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          If you're young and feel like having an adventure, why not bring a sleeping bag in to work and crash on the floor if you can't get home? It'll be something you can tell the grandkids about, probably without the part about the bar raid and the subsequent unfortunate hook-ups.

        2. as others have said, safety is the rule i'd go by. that said, it seems like it is askign a bit for trouble to promise they'll be open *no matter what*, in case they can't (say power outage?). Also, it does go a bit towards the rep chef Maws has of working (himself and others) hard.

          1. I'll be happy to drive any Craigie staff home after my wonderful meal. :)

            1. The T is shutting down at 3:30 and driving is supposed to be treacherous (so I imagine walking will too). I don't know. Seems kind of dickish to me unless it's a shoestring staff who volunteered for this.

              1. If Patrick declares a state of emergency, all bets are off.

                1. One big snow I walked to John Stones Inn, had a beer and borrowed a cup of coriander to brew a highly regarded Belian White Ale.

                  1. patrick is asking people to stay off the roads and the t is shutting down at 3:30. by all accounts it will be extremely dangerous to be driving later tonight. i live a 45-minute drive from the city and my restaurant told me not to come in, although they too are staying open.

                    on the news last night, i saw a talking head from the glynn hospitality group saying they were getting rooms for staff who were able to come into work.

                    there indeed is something exceptionally convivial about blizzard-drinking, lol. most city residents can walk to dozens of different options, so for them it's no biggie. however, with cambridge being so spendy, i seriously doubt tony's cooks, dishwashers, bussers, etc. all live within walking distance. maybe he's shuttling them and letting them stay at his house? yeah. that's it. :0

                    1. Tupelo's doing the same, and my gf and I are having an ethical dilemma about keeping a pre-existing reservation there. On the one hand, I think it's bad, unsafe workplace practices to open and require staff to come in (which, come on... how optional could it be, really, considering that you need a baseline level of staff to make the place function) during a blizzard; on the other hand, if they are committed to staying open, I feel like we should go and support the staff and help them make some money so that the struggles they have on the night are at least worth something. On the other other hand, another of our favourite restaurants is closed for the blizzard, and I'm pretty sure that that's because they were open during Sandy and had such a low return on investment that they decided not to put themselves and their staff through that again, which I think is the right call; if I go and spend money at Tupelo, is that encouraging and perpetuating those unsafe practices?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: TimTamGirl

                        All I can say about your ethical dilemma is that I was a waitress and my then-BF a cook at the time of the Blizzard of 1978 and we were happy to walk a mile to work and be open -- it was fun! As I recall, same for all the other restaurant workers in the area. We never lost power and hosted those who could not get home or didn't have power and a great time was had by all. Lots of things are fun when you are young! I agree with Jenny Ondioline's point above: good stories for life, as I have of the 78 storm.

                        1. re: GretchenS

                          Indeed. I have a friend who works at Craigie and he's happy to be in there tonight.

                        2. re: TimTamGirl

                          I follow Tupelo on Facebook and they reported an hour ago that they are not going to be open this evening.

                        3. I like how CBC is doing it. According to facebook:

                          Due to the storm, we will be closing our kitchen at 2pm today. The bar will remain open, but with shortened hours, likely closing late this afternoon.
                          We will also be closed for Brunch tomorrow morning.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: viperlush

                            In this instance it would be helpful to spell out what CBC means. There's no hint in the context.

                            1. re: Niblet

                              I wondered as well but then got it as cambridge brewing company. but who knows?

                                1. re: Niblet

                                  Yes, I love how my Complete Blood Count does it, too.

                                  1. re: Niblet

                                    Sorry, thought CBC was as familiar as ESK and ECG and didn't need to be spelled out.

                                2. Here's a helpful listing of what's open:

                                  This is likely subject to significant change as the governor just announced ALL roads would be closed to non essential vehicles at 4 PM. New Englanders ain't as hardy as they used to be.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                    I remember the Great Blizzard of 78. It's probably not so much a matter of hardiness as wanting to be sure that vehicles don't get abandoned on impassible roads, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get where they are needed.

                                    1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                      I remember the Blizzard of 78 as well (and anything I forgot has been pounded back into my head by the media this week). The reality of this situation is that there's going to be very little snow on the ground at 4pm, and less than a foot by midnight by even the most aggressive forecasts. In my opinion, this decision by our governor is an overreaction indicative of the times in which we live.

                                      1. re: Gabatta

                                        Exactly. It's 2:30 pm and outside my window there is currently no accumulation on the streets at all and only a slight dusting on the sidewalks.

                                        Meanwhile we'll be banned from the roads in just over an hour, the groceries were mobbed last night, and all sorts of schools, businesses, etc were closed today.

                                        Considering that the bulk of the storm is projected to be hitting while most people are sleeping, I don't really understand all of the hooplah.

                                  2. This strikes me as an extremely silly discussion. Are restaurant workers indentured servants? Are we benevolent patrons suggesting we might buy their freedom by boycotting their cruel masters?

                                    Their staff members are adults. If someone doesn't want to go into work at Craigie, they can tell Tony no. If they don't like the job, they can quit. They don't need you to feel bad for them any more than the utility workers, emergency services personnel, cab drivers, Deval Patrick, or anyone else who might also be working during the storm.

                                    Unless you feel ethically conflicted about those folks working, too, in which case by all means continue to sweat out your concerns.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: FinnFPM

                                      Most people realistically have the luxury to suddenly quit a job? Must be nice in your world.

                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                        Excuse me, but I'm not the one assuming that the servers at Craigie on Main are paupers who need the good and charitable people of Cambridge to rise up against Tony Maws and shun him for pushing The Help too hard.

                                        1. re: FinnFPM

                                          There are more people involved in a restaurant staff than just servers. If Tony Maws is washing the dishes and bussing tables tonight, then that's a different story.

                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                            I know there are -- but that's part of my point. No one is saying "Gee, Tony Maws is crazy for risking his own personal safety." It's the service staff everyone seems concerned with, and that, to me, smacks of presumptuousness. The assumption is either that Tony himself values his employees' safety very lowly, or that we think his employees need our help in some regard (or both). I don't think there's sufficient evidence for either.

                                            It's weird to me that you somehow think it would be "better" if Tony was performing low-wage work in a blizzard. Shouldn't you be upset that people are working at all? What difference does it make if Tony is washing dishes, or if his dishwasher is doing the cooking, or any other combination of things?

                                            Aren't people saying it's frivolous and unsafe for them to be open at all? If so, what difference does it make who is doing what job? Why would shuffling the responsibilities make you feel better?

                                            1. re: FinnFPM

                                              It's called basic human decency, and it seems to be something of a lost concept to some folks around here.

                                      2. re: FinnFPM

                                        emergency personnel, whether an ambulance driver or an electrical linesman, have it basically built in to their job description that they work during severe conditions. if a dishwasher takes the t to work, because he or she doesn't have a car, how do they get to and from work tonight?

                                        unlike street lamps or traffic lights, eating out is a luxury. the mandate is that non-essential personnel stay off the roads. in what world is a server "essential"?

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          Here we are, there's a blizzard, and there are restaurant employees that are expected to be working. So it sounds to me like that's part of the job description.

                                          For what it's worth, the bulk of this discussion predates Patrick's mandate that all cars be off the road by 4PM. If the state wants to ban restaurants or bars from being open, fine, do it. I have no issue there. Barring that, though, if there are people who think that they need to go get a pizza at 9pm during a blizzard and there are people who are willing to make that pizza during the blizzard, why are we wringing our hands about whether or not we think that those two parties are acting appropriately?

                                          You want pizza, you pay someone to make it for you. You want to see pizza, you find people to buy it from you.

                                          1. re: FinnFPM

                                            I'd like to think Maws asked his employees beforehand how many thought they'd be able to get into work and if enough said they could, he decided to open. Remember, if they are closed, those employees aren't making any money.

                                            If I lived nearby I'd check them out just to see who shows up, could be a fun atmosphere .

                                            1. re: FinnFPM

                                              I'm wondering myself how a worker who doesn't live in walking distance gets home if the roads are closed to all but emergency traffic and public transportation is shut down. If restaurants are lodging workers in nearby hotels or other accommodation, as apparently some places are, I don't see a problem.

                                              But I think it's a worthwhile, reasonable question to ask, and simply saying, "That's what they signed up for if they expect to keep their jobs" seems rather cavalier and heartless to me.


                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                Agree 100%. The only folks who think otherwise are the ones who see employees as a fungible commodity.

                                                1. re: ratbuddy

                                                  having worked in restaurants all my life, that attitude is indeed more the norm.

                                                  and knowing maws personally and professionally, i will say i am quite surprised, in a good way, that he made these arrangements for his staff.

                                                  as an aside, my b/f and i went out in downtown lowell last night. most places indeed were closed. one of the "better" restaurants had just the owner serving and bartending with her chef behind the line. they could both walk to work and she called off the rest of her staff. we slogged to another watering hole and while the crowd was sparse at 6, by 10 the place was jumping and yeah, lots of blizzard drinking, lol. very short-staffed and one guy was going to drive everybody home in his 4-wheel drive truck after closing.

                                            2. re: hotoynoodle

                                              When he or she is the bartender. Just kidding.

                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                owner was serving and bartending. action = verbs. :)

                                          2. East Coast Grill just reported that they are offering free chili and coffee to anyone out there working to keep the streets safe and clean. That's nice.

                                            1. If I was in the hood, I'd put on my snowshoes to finally try the burger! Blizzrds in a walkable city can be fun fun fun!

                                              1. well the people at least have spoken- picture a little while ago per Chef Maws' twitter feed- http://t.co/Ek4bPPFJ

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: valcfield

                                                  Good for them. I'd be willing to bet that crowd will tip well above the mean tonight. I'm generally not a Craigie fan, but I wish we had someone to watch our toddler tonight.

                                                  1. re: Gabatta

                                                    hope so- espeically because they offered a discounted 3 course for 40 bucks menu, which is awesome for the customers (and may have helped pack the room... though who knows, awfully full there) but it would be a bit sad to go through the effort to work a night like this and then end up with less than you normally would (of course, counterpoint, if you need the money, better some money than not having been able to work at all, i suppose).

                                                    i was also a bit sad i couldn't convince the gf to go out- i like craigie quite a bit, but its normal price point is just high enough that it gets crowded out by other places. that said, i think their whim is a great value, and when we get our act together to go, always enjoy it.

                                                2. I live in California where it really never snows so as far as a blizzard goes the whole concept is terrifying to me.I have been in Lake Tahoe Nevada outside walking from casino to casino in actual snow and it was not pretty.But the thought of a restaurant staying open so people can ski in or snow-mobile there and eat drink and party sounds like a party worth going to:)

                                                  1. According to their twitter:

                                                    "For those kind souls worried about our staff, don't worry, we've made accommodations for them at a very near-by hotel for a giant sleepover!"

                                                    Probably Le Meridien, which is walking distance even in the most extreme conditions. I would have loved to have went, maybe today...