SPEEDWAY, Ind. — For McGilvery’s Pub & Eatery, recovery looks to be going pretty well.
“We’re just really starting to rebound, and see the people out, and enjoying life again,” said owner Angela Halsey. “It’s such a pleasure to see people walk in, to see their entire face and just to see their spirits lifted again.”
The renewed energy comes after a busy Brickyard weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Halsey says business was off the charts.
Business owners, like Halsey, are hopeful to keep the momentum going. McGilvery’s, along with a host of other restaurants, are also set to be featured at this year’s Taste of Speedway, which is Tuesday, August 17th.
The event highlights several area businesses, along with a variety of food and drink samples, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Dallara IndyCar Factory (1201 N. Main Street). Tickets were pre-sold in advance but are still available for $20 at the door while supplies last.
Though McGilvery’s has been part of the Speedway community for years, the pandemic brought a unique set of challenges to even the most experienced business owners.
“It’s a very mercurial industry anyway,” said Halsey. “However, there is a baseline in how you staff, how you function, how you order. Over the last year, product comes and goes. You may get it, you may not get it. There’s no baseline for what the business looks like.”
“It’s a challenge of how do you run a business when you have no baseline,” she added. “It’s starting from scratch, and after being in the industry for a long time, you really acquired a good baseline, a good knowledge and a good predictability to some degree… and that’s gone.”
Right now, Halsey it’s hard to navigate the industry, especially when you factor in product shortages and limited access for distributors.
“The regulars, especially, that come in and expect a product to be here and I can’t give them that, nor can any of my competitors,” she said. “It’s not like anybody has an edge on us, and so it’s just been, that’s a challenge.”
While many restaurants and bars continue to battle staffing shortages, Halsey says she’s remained pretty steady as most employees have remained on staff.
Halsey admits it’s been a lot of trial and error to figure out the best methods during the pandemic. One avenue McGilvery’s is taking is incorporating live music and entertainment. She says latest renovations to the building include a stage for performance, and so far, it’s been well received from customers.
While it’s unclear what the business model looks like these days, Halsey says she’s encouraged as loyal customers, and new faces, make a return.
“The first year was very tumultuous,” Halsey said. “There were a lot of highs and lows and it was a little intimidating at first. How are we going to come back? When are we going to come back? But over the course, of the last month, have been tremendous.”