What happened when Fox Run Cafe opened in Denver during the coronavirus pandemic

On Monday, Lucien Reichert and his team of three employees were taking some much-needed rest after their first week running a restaurant.

For five days, they had operated the new Fox Run Café with a skeleton crew, serving takeaway breakfast and lunch items with reasonable success during a city and statewide restaurant shutdown caused by an international pandemic.

“As long as we don’t kill ourselves by doing this … I figured we’d take it day by day for now,” Reichert told The Denver Post. What he meant was, after working long hours with a tight crew, they all needed a break.

“The weight of making decisions right now is getting to me,” he added. “It’s scary, because all three of us working here are highly trained in food safety, and obviously we’re stepping it up and wiping everything down, washing our hands for an extra 20 seconds. But it’s all the unknown stuff.”

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

From left, behind the counter, Fox Run Cafe staffers Kelsie Berens, Sam Herrendorf and cafe owner Lucien Reichert take a to-go order from Andrea Crary, front left, and her husband Michael Coston at 3550 East Colfax Ave. in Denver on  March 18.

Reichert had originally planned to open Fox Run in late January but was set back by permitting and other typical delays. Still, he counted down the days and eventually announced a March 18 grand opening date. And then the effects of the new coronavirus hit home on East Colfax.

“Opening a restaurant is difficult,” Reichert wrote on his business Instagram page last Monday, March 16, the day Denver restaurants were forced to close all dine-in service in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. “Opening a restaurant in the midst of a global pandemic is … something else.”