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Long standing Missoula restaurant powers through pandemic

Posted at 10:46 AM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 12:46:51-04

Restaurants and bars continue getting back on their feet after the shutdowns in March, but with limits on capacity and far less foot traffic, business isn’t the same.

“Ya know, we've never seen a year like this and we've had our series of ups and downs,” said owner of The Depot Mike Munsey.

From the day The Depot opened its doors in March of 1974, Mike Munsey has been the head guy, owning and operating the restaurant through 46 years of highs and lows. After all this time, Missoulians recognize the Depot for its delicious prime rib and an impressive Pirnie art collection, but this year has brought challenges Munsey never could have anticipated.

“Sometimes on something like this, it’s an opportunity to rebrand yourself, so we looked at it as a way to get better,” said Munsey.

Like every other eatery, the Depot experienced major setbacks when COVID-19 hit. Before the shutdown in March, they had almost 90 employees. Now, they have less than half that. And while the local health department will allow 75% capacity, to keep tables six-feet apart means operating at even less than that.

“It's working okay and we're kind of breaking even,” said Munsey, “But the problem is you don't have football, the University shut down, the hotels are at lower occupancy so we don't have a lot of customers to begin with, but it's going to work fine.”

With nearly 50 years of experience, Munsey has earned some street cred, and this is his take on the pandemic and what the public can do to support businesses like The Depot.

“I know there are a lot of people really struggling right now, it's very hard to get employees, hard to keep this thing going with limited seating, but I think if we just stay arm and arm on this, the community can get through it. I would urge the people here, if you can and if you feel safe, please go out and support whatever restaurant is your favorite restaurant. We hope are on the list, and if we're not that's fine too. Let’s go help these people survive this."

The Depot has cut back a bit of their menu due to delays in the supply chain, but they’ve kept all their bestsellers, and they’d love to welcome you in Tuesdays through Saturdays.

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