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Roosevelt Tavern, known for fine dining, now dishing up array of soups, ice cream and coffee

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

Under normal circumstances, Roosevelt Tavern might be opening up their outdoor patio seating these days. This spring, however, is anything but normal.

When the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic struck, Byron Kehr Jr. and his wife, Lauren, knew they had to make some decisions.

“My wife and I discussed what we were going to try to do to get through this time,” he said.

With wedding reception bookings and other events canceled, it was decided that most of the staff would be laid off, with the exception of the sous chef, who stayed on to help make the eight to nine varieties of soup that would be offered, and another to help with packaging for weekly curbside pickups.

The Kehrs worked to consolidate everything as much as possible and are able to focus on getting only the things they need to prepare the soups each week. The Roosevelt also partnered with other local business to offer 12 oz. bags of ground coffee from Belmont Bean Co., as well as half-gallon selections of Beck’s Ice Cream.

However, “people are definitely missing the sit-down dinners,” Byron Kehr said.

Co-owner Byron Kehr Jr. delivers orders of soup to curbside customers at Roosevelt Tavern in York City, Friday, April 10, 2020. When faced with the challenges of owning a restaurant at the onset of when the coronavirus touched York, Byron and his wife Lauren discussed their options and quickly settled on scaling down their menu to include 8-9 varieties of soups, rotated weekly, that could be picked up curbside on Fridays and Saturdays.  Dawn J. Sagert photo

The fine dining, farm-to-table casual restaurant located at 50 N. Penn St. in York City, is selling the soups by the quart, with weekly selections listed on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Along with their regular customers, there have been orders for hospital staff and businesses. Byron Kehr said some customers are buying quarts of soup for their whole family and then dividing it up.

“I think they’ve kind of adjusted with everything going on in the community,” he said. “We’re all in it together.”  

Jeff King, left, of Spring Grove, thanks Byron Kehr Jr., co-owner of Roosevelt Tavern, for delivering his soup order curbside in York City, Friday, April 10, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

On Friday, Byron Kehr set a bag of soup and French dinner rolls inside a raised tailgate belonging to customer Jeff King, of Spring Grove.

“We’re out trying to support the small businesses in the York area,” King said.

 “With everything that’s going on, they’re going to take it pretty hard, so whatever we can do to help them, that’s what we want to do,” he added.