MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — COVID economic pains permanently shuttered thousands of restaurants over the last year nationwide. That makes the anniversary of one small Mobile eatery all the more special for the owner and people who work there. Whether it’s diners dining, cooks cooking or the owner on the move it takes a lot of work to keep Bob’s Downtown Diner running.
“Wow, just wow, we’re grateful for what we’ve been through and you learn from your mistake,” said an appreciative owner/operator Tony Sawyer.
Monday morning marked seven years in business. This after a very tough 2020. A survey from the National Restaurant Association late last year said one in six US eateries closed due to the pandemic. Closer to home, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce says at least three restaurants in Mobile closed during the pandemic and two catering businesses.
Today they’re up and running, but also facing staffing challenges like anyone else in the service industry.
“It’s tough, it’s hard, so when you have staffing issues you want it to feel like a family,” said Sawyer. The owner says they also try to spread what they do at the restaurant to the community at large.
“The main thing I love about Tony’s/Bob’s is they give back to the community constantly I’ve never seen a local business that focuses on giving back to the community like this place,” said regular customer Steve Moore. We’ve seen that in events like their regular Feed the Cops–providing meals to Mobile-first responders during the height of the Mardi Gras season.
“If you embrace your community and give back to your community the people who need it and deserve it the community gives back to you,” said Sawyer.