It’s a devastating time for small businesses across the country with many of them just trying to survive another day during the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants in Milwaukee have had to pivot quickly from a normal day-to-day routine with patrons enjoying a meal in their dining area, to take-out and delivery only. All of this change happening in a matter of days in the mist of Governor Evers ‘safer at home’ order.
There’s one Milwaukee restaurant that’s making the most of this unprecedented situation. The Tandem restaurant has turned their successful business into a soup kitchen, giving away free meals to those in need.
“We thought we’ll put together some meals, throw them in the freezer and anyone who needs a little something can come by and ask for it, no questions asked. We did that for the first day. We made 85 meals and really thought we were saving the world with our little food. All 85 of those meals were gone in 3 hours,” said owner of The Tandem restaurant Caitlin Cullen.
But day-by-day the need for hot meals became greater. Cullen says they doubled down the second day making 150 meals. Those meals were gone in just 2 hours.
“At that point we had a fast meeting where we sat together and thought is this the most important thing we can do right now. How do we come out of this crisis feeling good about the decisions we made,” Cullen said.
From that moment on, the restaurant has relied on donations to make as much food as possible.
“You have your traditional patrons who need free community meals but a lot of the folks who are standing in line outside the door or who are calling in, are people who have never had to deal with food insecurity before.”
The Tandem posts their meals daily on Facebook and Instagram, labeled under Tandem MKE. To request a meal, please call between 11am-4pm Monday through Friday at 414-885-1919 or you can just show up and wait.
If you’d like to help fund more meals for the community, there’s a donation link at tandemmke.com.
The Tandem is located at 1848 W Fond Du Lac Ave. in Milwaukee.