It’s been over a year since the pandemic was first declared, which has made life especially difficult for business owners.
Restaurants and bars have been hit hard as public health restrictions become more strict with the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Cori Karountzos, owner of Frisky Whisky on Main Street in Creston, has learned to roll with the punches.
After years of working at the local Jimmy’s Pub & Grill, she dreamed of opening her own cocktail lounge in the style of a 1920s speakeasy.
Plans were made to open Frisky Whisky in March 2020, but the pandemic threw a wrench in her plans.
Karountzos decided to delay the opening until July. Luckily, the first few weeks of business were a huge success with the community’s support.
“We were really, really busy because a lot of people had been anticipating our opening for so long,” said Karountzos.
“But since then, it’s been a constant battle with COVID-19.”
For many months over the past year, Frisky Whisky was required to close at 10 p.m. and not allow more than 40 patrons in at a time (while licensed for 70).
To supplement for the loss of hours and potential customers, Karountzos has had to get creative with new offerings, such as a lunch menu, Sunday brunch, and take-home cocktail kits.
The $80 kits include a 26-ounce bottle of bourbon, gin, tequila, rum, or champagne and all of the fresh ingredients needed to make four different cocktail recipes.
“It’s just a great way to have a fun night with the girls at home,”said Karountzos.
On March 30, the provincial government announced the three-week circuit breaker, which ordered gyms, restaurants, and bars to close their doors again.
Karountzos took it as an opportunity to renovate the space next door, with plans of turning it into a live music venue and night club.
“Creston has never had anything like this, so I think a lot of people are really excited about it,” she said.
“Main Street has become very trendy with new stores like Pageboy and Modern Alchemy, so I think Frisky Whisky fits right in.”
Now that the health orders have been extended to the May long weekend, Karountzos is once again ready to try something new.
Frisky Whisky will re-open on April 21 with a new takeout menu from the hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. There will also be a few tables on the sidewalk with a heater to serve as a little patio space.
Originally, Karountzos hadn’t planned on offering takeout due to the logistical challenges.
“I needed to do something because our losses were $40,000 just in the last month,” she said.
“I’ll continue to adjust as I need to. I don’t want anyone to get sick, so I’m not fighting this. I’m hoping we can re-open soon. I just want people to be able to come here to relax, eat, socialize, dance, and have fun.”
Once Frisky Whisky is able to re-open its doors, Karountzos plans to continue trivia on Wednesdays, bingo on Thursdays, and live music from local singer-songwriters on Fridays and Saturdays.