You can add Hive Social co-owner Ashley Baldwin to the list of folks in Oregon trying to make the difficult 2020 restaurant scene work.
In Oregon City just a block from Hive Social, two restaurants that had closed this spring combined this summer as Yvonne's at Singer Hill, but Yvonne Haney said stringent social distancing requirements forced its closure at the end of October.
Focusing on produce, meats, fish and seafood sourced from the Willamette Valley, Hive Social opened in September with catering and supper-club evenings supplementing brunches served 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at 602 Seventh St., Oregon City. However, Gov. Kate Brown's Nov. 13 announcement of more stringent COVID-19 requirements has spurred Baldwin to move to takeout-only service for the next two weeks. She hosted an Italian-themed supper club Nov. 13, just before the regulations took effect, and Baldwin hoped the coronavirus calms in time to keep a seafood social night on the calendar for Dec. 11.
"We really need the extra support over the next couple of weeks while we're doing takeout, and hopefully it won't be longer than that," she said.
Baldwin and Executive Chef Joe Hunt co-own Hive, which they started in 2015 as a farm-to-table catering company. After five years of serving weddings, nonprofit events and other special occasions, they were looking for a way to expand their business and increase the infrastructure so that Hunt wasn't primarily working alone.
"It was really long, hard days and we wanted to build a team," Baldwin said. "We knew we would need to diversify in order to support a team and the facility we needed."
During COVID, the building on Seventh Street became available.
"Partnering with my mom, we opened the Hive Social in just six weeks, bringing on some key staff that we had worked with for some time and keeping a philosophy that aligned with our values: scratch made and locally sourced," Baldwin said. "Our family is doing something together that is extremely hard, in a time when restaurants are struggling tremendously."
Despite the challenges, Baldwin is heartened by "amazing, loving support from our community" as Oregon CIty citizens and business owners come in every week and encourage them.
"If you're looking for ways to support us, we would love to see more weekday patrons (we do serve breakfast and lunch), come try the coffee everyone is raving about in our cafe, or rent our entire space for private events in the evenings," Baldwin said.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.