CINCINNATI — When Four Entertainment Group faced the restaurant restrictions announced in March to slow the coronavirus spread, the group's leadership realized they needed to reinvent its business model.
"We've kind of shifted our model to better accommodate people who are wanting to stay at home," said Saijal Andreadis, marketing manager for Four Entertainment Group, which owns Keystone Bar & Grill.
That shift in operation involved launching what Andreadis called two "ghost kitchens," carryout and deliver-only concepts that operate out of Keystone Bar & Grill's three Greater Cincinnati locations.
Those ghost kitchens include Danny Boy, which offers classic American hamburgers, and Leaf & Ladle, which offers upscale soups and salads not served on Keystone's traditional menu that features macaroni and cheese, among other traditional dine-in fares.
"Not everything travels well," said Dan Cronican, owner of Keystone Bar & Grill. "Not everything on our Keystone menu travels well."
Four Entertainment Group quietly launched Danny Boy and Leaf & Ladle a couple of months ago on DoorDash. Cronican said during that time, he and his team tweaked both concept menus.
The group eventually added a vegetarian nachos option made with Impossible Meat, he said.
"We were able to work on it together and come up with a menu that everyone was happy with," Cronican said.
The ghost kitchens' popularity also allowed Four Entertainment Group to keep more staff employed at the Keystone locations.
"Doing these ghost kitchen concepts out of Keystone has been a really good opportunity for us," Andreadis said.
Cronican said Danny Boy's retro-menu of thin-patty burgers, golden fries and milkshakes has become so popular that customers are starting to ask online where Danny Boy's brick-and-mortar store is located.
Cronican said he cannot guarantee there ever will be brick-and-mortar locations for Danny Boy, but he offered something else.
"We get through this pandemic; we're going to continue to run these concepts as long as they are successful and well-received," he said.