COVID diaries Colorado: Work & Class restaurant in Denver

Denver Post journalists joined colleagues from more than 40 news organizations across Colorado in a collaborative effort, COVID diaries Colorado: A day in the pandemic. The project’s goal: To describe life on April 16 to show how much has changed in such a short amount of time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is one of The Denver Post’s vignettes. Read the full collaboration here.

7 a.m.: Work & Class restaurant in Denver

By the time Tabatha Knop walked into her Larimer Street restaurant, her chefs had been there an hour, making carnitas to fill breakfast burritos for whoever would venture out that day in the snow.

Knop’s schedule hadn’t changed much from five weeks ago, but her team had. In early March, business was thrumming six nights a week for the destination-dinner spot.

Work & Class’ motto has always been “square meal, stiff drink, fair price.” It sits across the street from sister restaurant Super Mega Bien, which Knop and her business partners shuttered for the duration of the coronavirus shutdown after laying off 57 employees in a single day.

“We’ve stopped counting the days, really; we’re mostly just counting the weeks,” Knop said. “Every day feels the same, sort of, at this point.”

The team on Friday would deliver 91 burritos to families in Curtis Park through that neighborhood association’s Meal Train. Saturday’s orders included 200 meals for Swedish Medical Center. Knop said a few more of her cooks volunteered to help with evening prep.

Even with Super Mega Bien closed, Knop was dealing with unexpected costs there. Two nights prior, a window at the entrance was broken around 1 a.m., “but thank God (whoever did it) was not able to get in,” Knop said.

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