The Barstool Fund - The Eagle House
Up next: The Eagle House (Williamsville, NY)
The Eagle House has been a famous Williamsville "stopping place" since 1827, casual and comfortable, whether it's Saturday date night or an evening out to catch up with old friends. They offer a full menu for lunch and dinner in a unique atmosphere.
Dear Barstool Fund,
What you're doing is amazing, and whether we receive any help or not, we are so thankful for what you're doing for small businesses across this country. In the restaurant business, no two days are ever the same, up until this year, that’s what made it so much fun.My name is Tricia Browne, and I am the fourth generation in my family to work in our restaurant, and my sons , Jeffrey (22) & Connor (17), are on their way, coming up, as the fifth.
I used to love being a little girl going to work with my grandmother , everything I know about this business, I learned from her. I don’t think there’s anything else I’ve ever wanted to do or be a part of. I loved learning the ropes from her and I never fully understood the emotion of it until I began to work side by side with my two sons. There’s moments you share with your staff in the thrill of a busy service, all it takes is sharing a smile, making eye contact, no words are necessary, because you each just know, in that moment, this is why we are in this business, this is why we love what we do. I love sharing those looks, those moments with my sons. I love watching them work and interact with customers and staff, and in those moments I see it, like I hope my grandmother did of me, it’s in their blood, they get it.
If you’re in this business and you love it- the good, the bad, the insanity, it’s because it’s in your blood, you just get it and you can’t imagine doing anything else.
When you grow up in this business, you work hard, you do whatever it takes for your staff to succeed and your customers to leave happy. If you hit a snag or an issue, you adapt, make it work, figure it out, it’s what we do.
Beginning of 2020, we were having a great year, the weather was mild for winter in Buffalo and that makes everyone happier to get out of the house and out to eat. We had just won the coveted "Stanley cup" of soup in February during the annual Soup Stroll in our little village of Williamsville.
We were gearing up for what is one of the busiest weeks in Buffalo, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Then something happened that felt like running right into a brick wall. In NY, restaurants were told by Governor Cuomo we had to close down to takeout only on March 16th, and like most, I never thought it would be more than a couple weeks. We reopened six weeks later, the patio was open and we were still doing curbside carry out. Within the first six weeks of getting reopened, we proudly brought back 98% of our staff.
During one of the first shifts with patio service opened, excited to welcome guests back, I remember watching out the window, and crying. I watched my servers, who were so happy to just be back at work, approach tables in their masks.
I cried, because I knew it was necessary, but it goes against every grain of what our business is about, this isn’t “hospitality” and I thought, I don’t know how they’re going to do this. But my staff amazed me, they took every turn with me in stride.
They did whatever they had to do to keep themselves and our customers safe, and they amazed me again by being happy about it.
There is no complaining, there is only adapting at every new rule, laughing and adjusting on the fly, simply because it’s in their blood.
It’s what we do, and pandemic or not, they kept doing it, and at every new hand we’ve been dealt, they’ve pushed through right alongside of me, and whether they’ve known it or not, that’s held me up and kept me going at times when I wasn’t sure I could.
Something we will never take for granted is the amazing support system which is the place we call home-- Buffalo -- is a city that answers the call for help when it’s given and people have rallied around supporting locally owned restaurants, local restaurants have rallied in support of each other, it’s like nothing I have ever experienced before. We always strive to give back to our community and this just makes that calling that much more important because of what they’ve done to keep us going.
Normally open seven days week, now since November 20th, we have been closed with the exception of three nights a week for dinner carry out, and at that makes it a struggle to keep going and pay the bills and payroll.
Local News Channel 4 runs "Buffalo's Best" contests throughout the year, that week "Buffalo's Best Thanksgiving Takeout" was up for the taking, we set out and with support of amazing customers and staff, we took the title.
We broke records on Thanksgiving serving 680 Thanksgiving Dinners "to go".
I know, Dave, you have a soft spot in your heart for Buffalonians. Our tavern was built in 1827, it’s the oldest continuous operating restaurant in Erie County, one of the oldest in NY State.
My family has owned and operated the restaurant now for almost 44 years. Our staff, they’ve been here through thick and thin over the years and they’ve been my greatest reason to keep going through all of this. A few months ago a County Legislator stopped in just to see how we were holding up and told me a story. When he was in high school, he interviewed with my grandmother for a parking valet job. He said he was so nervous and as soon as he met her, he was comfortable. She shook his hand and said "you start Saturday night, wear a clean pressed shirt and always smile, you'll be great," she told him. He said the first time he met me, I smiled and laughed, and he saw my grandmother in me. He said I know you're strong and as long as you keep smiling, you'll be great on the other side of this.
I’m asking for your help because I want us to get to the other side, I want my sons to experience everything that growing up in this business has taught me. To stick with things even when it seems impossible to succeed because you will surprise yourself at what you're capable of.
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