OMAHA, Neb. (KMYV) — Beloved local fish restaurant, Joe Tess Place is closing its doors. Restaurant owners say they never really bounced back from COVID. They also said supply issues, high diesel prices and their fishermen up north getting older all contributed to the decision to close.
But they're not alone. The Omaha community has seen a slew of local staples shutting down. Industry experts say it's getting harder for businesses to keep their doors open.
"It’s going to be a challenge regardless," Christopher Slater, Strategy Consultant with 316 Strategy Group said. "It’s hard enough when you’ve got a pandemic and then we have rising food costs and labor shortages."
Slater suggests restaurants stay ahead of trends and be creative to avoid closing. But, the burden also falls on customers.
He says we as a community must also support these restaurants in order for them to succeed. But with the pandemic tightening wallets, eating out is usually the first thing families cut out to save money.
"As a community, we have to support these restaurants and do our part that gets harder and harder as we have to tighten our belts. Prices are raising on our side too gas and insurance and everything else," Slater said. "You’ve got an Omaha iconic restaurant that is closing and then you see a lot of rhetoric where people are, 'That’s too bad' or 'I can’t believe its closing' or 'I haven’t been there for so long.' Well, that's one of the reasons right there."
When staples like Joe Tess Place close, it doesn't just affect the business owners and employees. Slater says it limits options and limits revenue coming into the area, in this case, South Omaha.
Joe Tess Place doesn't have a concrete date for their closing but says once they run out of food, they'll shut their doors.