CINCINNATI, Ohio — A downtown Cincinnati restaurant might be the only place where you can get a loaded grilled cheese doughnut for lunch. The crew at Tom and Chee is busy making them, but the lunch rush isn’t what it used to be.
“What’s really kinda hurt us is when Reds games and Bengals games don’t really get fans,” said Tom and Chee General Manager David Digiacomo.
He says they’re losing business because COVID is cancelling major events and limiting games.
“People park right here and walk down to the stadium and have a bite to eat before or after the game — that’s really what hurt us was that big loss of foot traffic,” said Digiacomo.
He says they’ve already had layoffs and a restaurant close because of COVID, and this will be another hit to the budget.
“That’s a number I don’t even wanna think about adding up to,” said Digiacomo.
According to the Cincinnati Visitor’s and Convention Bureau, it’s $95M. That's how much they calculate businesses lost in Hamilton County since the pandemic began in March.
It’s the reason David Digiacomo and his crew are relying on something else to try to make up for the loss, one grilled cheese doughnut at a time.
“Every catering order that comes in, we jump at it,” said Digiacomo, “even if it’s 50 sandwich or box orders, if it’s a $1000 order, we’re gonna jump at it because we need that income," he said.
It could be even longer before businesses fully recover from the multi-million dollar loss.
The visitor’s bureau is saying some major events are being pushed back to the year 2022.