Bend‘A new challenge’: Downtown Bend restaurant Joolz shuts down dining but keeps...

‘A new challenge’: Downtown Bend restaurant Joolz shuts down dining but keeps business going

‘A new challenge’: Downtown Bend restaurant Joolz shuts down dining but keeps business going

‘It’s super-hard right now to be a restaurant,’ co-owner Juli Hamdan says

(Update: Adding video, comments from restaurant co-owner)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) —  The owner of the Middle Eastern, Lebanese-influenced restaurant Joolz, on Wall Street in downtown Bend, says that after changes brought on by the pandemic, supply issues, rising prices, and indoor flooding, it’s the employee shortage that has led to temporarily closing its physical location.

But Juli Hamdan said Tuesday that the fight isn’t over.

Most recently, she posted the following on the home page of their website:

“We are deeply saddened that Joolz is unable to open right now. We are another statistic of the labor shortage. We’ve survived a near-recession, indoor floods and a pandemic, so we just look at this as a new challenge.”

After 13 years of managing the restaurant, Hamdan said she and her husband, Ramsey, will do what they can to keep the business going.

Currently, while the establishment is closed for dining and takeout orders, the owner said it will still operate private catering events.

When Covid first hit, Hamdan said she was afraid they’d have to shut down.

“It was tough,” Hamdan recalled. “I mean, we had to do a whole new POS (point of sales system), we had to do a new website. We had to train ourselves and our staff to figure out how that would work and what dishes work, you know — getting in a car and being driven across town.”

With the wildfires burning across Oregon at the time, she said they were able to find ways to keep going.

“We were able to do a lot of community outreach and do meals for people, provide things, work with the Red Cross, and that was a super-big blessing in disguise,” Hamdan said.

To keep the restaurant open, Hamdan needs about six or seven staff members on the kitchen line.

“The main kitchen that was on the line, and the grill, and sauté — that had to get you through every night, with that many covers, it’s really hard for everybody right now to get that staff,” Hamdan said.

She said being a small, family-owned business makes it harder to compete and accommodate higher wages.

“And it’s universal, I think it’s everywhere, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Hamdan said. “Hopefully, the private parties, events and the catering is going to really just keep us there.”

And by there, Hamdan means she hopes it will at least keep the rent paid on their lease, which they have through January.

“Really hope there’s a solution, (so) that we can figure out why we don’t have the employees, and how we can get them back in,” Hamdan said.

Until then, Hamdan can only roll with the punches.

“For everybody that’s out there like we were, as a restaurant, struggling, the community support is so essential,” Hamdan said. “And people are so incredible here, so keep supporting, be patient. It’s super hard right now to be a restaurant.”

The post ‘A new challenge’: Downtown Bend restaurant Joolz shuts down dining but keeps business going appeared first on KTVZ.

KTVZ.com
KTVZ.comhttps://ktvz.com/
Central Oregon's news leader since 1977.

Subscribe Today

GET EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO CONTENT

SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM

NEWS FROM 30+ MEDIA SOURCES

250,000+ LOYAL READERS EACH YEAR

Get unlimited access to our news content and our archive of Central Oregon stories.

Top Stories

More Articles