Eva Restaurant: Facing COVID-19 With Determination and Optimism

Before the pandemic hit, Eva Restaurant was the busiest it had ever been. After 12 years on Salt Lake City’s Main Street, the restaurant was growing, with a record number of employees on its payroll. That quickly changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, and the protocols for running a restaurant changed drastically.

Eva streamlined its menu to adapt to the ever-changing situation, focusing on high-quality ingredients while accommodating fewer staff members in the kitchen. It also expanded its to-go offerings, bringing the tapas (Spanish appetizers) experience to individuals sheltering at home.

Although the restaurant temporarily closed in May 2020, it reopened with assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program. However, business looked very different when Eva first reopened its doors. With a smaller staff, sales were approximately 10% of what they were the previous year. 

Things began to improve for the restaurant toward the end of 2020 when it received a Shop In Utah grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). This grant allowed the restaurant to rehire most of its staff and expand its commitment to provide high-quality food and service to its customers, even during these challenging times.

“The best thing about the GOED grant was it allowed us to give back to our customers,” says Charlie Perry, owner of Eva. “We continue to honor our Shop In Utah offer, and we are honored to be a part of a wonderful program that meant the world to us during an uncertain year.”

Eva is working to ensure it will remain a staple on Main Street for years to come. “I think we’ll come out of this with a renewed appreciation for something we all took for granted before: gathering together to serve our community.”