CINCINNATI — The owners behind a popular Newport restaurant spent big to save a key supplier for local eateries. While they said they selfishly did it to avoid losing a customer favorite, peers think it could ease pressure on several supply chains.
Lucius Q co-owner Jeff Keate said supply chain issues are weighing heavier on the barbecue restaurant than any box of smoked ribs or chicken.
"Our greatest challenge was and is supply chain and also staffing," Keate said. "Once we get past this, I just want to exhale and just relax a little bit."
Keate's crew works in a constant state of wondering where their supply chain will break next.
"You never know what's going to be missing on the order or changed on the order," he said. "That means I have to go out there and find those products that we need to come up with. So that just means me driving around town trying to find where the best solution is."
One staple promoted on the restaurant's website vanished in March when Giminetti Baking Company closed.
"We know what a pain it would be for us to go and find someone out of Columbus to bring bread down every other day," said Mike Mazzei, co-owner of KHI Food Brands.
Mazzei's group also owns Pompilio's Italian Restaurant in Newport, Kentucky. They are another long-time Giminetti customer whose customers have enjoyed free specialty bread from the bakery for decades. Going without was never an option owners would swallow. So, they bought the baking company.
"Whether it's a sandwich shop that wants a certain type of bread or a pizza shop that wants their dough to be a certain way," Mazzei said. "These are all now recipes that we now have. So, now we're able to kind of fill that void for them."
The timing is tricky for Lucius Q, whose owners already scrambled to find replacements, Keate said. Still, he said there's relief. In a place all about Cincinnati and its founder, serving customers feels easier knowing that a trusted supplier remains nearby ready to ease supply chain burdens weighing down operations.
"I'm glad to see their products are going to be continued on in this world because I know Giminetti's provides buns all over this town," said Keate. "I feel great about it."