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Voices from the Crisis: ‘Monty’ says restaurants like Starboard hold out hope for strong summer

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Steve Montgomery is trying to make the best out of a rough situation — one order of Eggs Delmarva and Orange Crush to go at a time.

Those two items are staples on the brunch menu at his Starboard restaurant and bar in Dewey Beach. Starboard was among the first restaurants preparing for St. Patrick’s Day Weekend — the first big event for beach eateries since winter — to postpone its big bash to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Steve Montgomery | Photo c/o Starboard

“While there’s very little income in carry-out food, it’s nice to offer the community. We’ve had a lot of happy customers,” Montgomery said. “Restaurants are truly on the front lines of each community, feeding those who do not cook, the elderly, and even some less fortunate. It’s important for folks to get out and get adequate nutrition they need.”

Starboard is offering take-out breakfast and lunch options from Fridays to Sundays. Some staff are on unemployment and some continue to work. Montgomery wants to welcome all back once dine-in service starts up again, even though he’s unsure when that will be. With many small businesses, he said that paying employees with little income could be difficult, unless a business has plenty of credit or reserves. And it’s unusual for beach businesses to have much in reserves after a long winter.

“I totally understand the very difficult position [Governor John Carney] and his staff are in right now.  They honestly do not want to be hurting anyone’s business,” he said. “But nobody really knows at this time what that time frame will be. Hopefully everyone does their part while supporting businesses by ordering some carryout.”

Right now, he believes that biding time and limiting social gatherings is best to get through this crisis sooner than later. The hope is that lost revenue in March could be recouped when the summer season officially starts Memorial Day Weekend. When Starboard reopens after the crisis has passed, Montgomery hopes that Delaware’s resort areas will see more people flock to the beach.

“Personally I feel the further away destinations that could be hurt this first year,” he said. “I think more and more folks will head to the beaches and spend as much time as they can here next to the ocean. Nobody at this point really knows what to expect on this thing. But once we are back fully operating, I’d expect it to be a wonderful Summer for our area.

— Katie Tabeling

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