After near-closing earlier this year, The Farm fights to remain open through COVID-19

Posted at 10:59 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 23:22:47-04

DELHI, Ohio — After an anonymous donor rescued The Farm from IRS closure earlier this year, the restaurant has worked to adapt its business as COVID-19 also threatens the business.

The West Side staple, fresh from a near-closure once this year, is determined to keep serving its customers.

Like every restaurant in the Greater Cincinnati region, The Farm is hurting; It can't host banquets or sit-down dinners anymore. The pandemic also hit during a time when The Farm's owners were trying to get back on their feet after struggles with the IRS.

"We've got the side of the buffet covered with plastic so the customer doesn't touch anything," said Dan Elsaesser, owner of The Farm. "We put everything on their plate."

They're also hosting a new fish fry event to drum up new business.

The IRS seized the property in January after Elsaesser found himself $126,000 behind on his taxes -- The Farm was scheduled to be put up for auction until an anonymous donor loaned the business the money they needed to get out of trouble.

"I'll tell you what, there's a lot of loyal customers out there that are supporting us," said Elsaesser. "They're sharing our menu on Facebook. They're sharing our website where our menus are at. People are just so kind."

The Farm has canceled all of its March banquets and is now trying to stay afloat as a carry-out buffet restaurant. They serve customers Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday nights. People can order from the parking lot if they're not comfortable coming inside. Staff inside the restaurant is limiting crowds and reminding people to socially distance; Only staff is allowed to serve food from the buffet.

"Things are looking bright," said Elsaesser. "Now, this is not a good situation to have a virus, a pandemic around the country. But we're just doing the best we can to serve good food for people and try to keep everything going."

Elsaesser said The Farm had one of its best months ever in February, with customers eager to support the business. He said he's hopeful they can keep that momentum going through the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.