Updated Friday, July 17 at 11 a.m.
Community concern comes before business
By Deb Silverthorn
Owners of The Market, Jordona Kohn and Stacey Clark, breathed a sigh of relief Friday, when results of COVID-19 tests for the entire staff came back negative after a vendor last week tested positive. The restaurant will reopen Monday, July 20, for breakfast and lunch to-go and hopes to open again for dinner and “grab and go” the following week.
On Sunday evening, July 12, The Market posted to its Facebook page, to that of Dallas Kosher, and to its WhatsApp thread that it was closing, temporarily, after being notified that a vendor had tested positive for COVID-19.
The vendor, a provider of cleaning supplies, visited The Market on Friday, after hours. The positive report was received and shared to The Market on Sunday afternoon. It is reported that the vendor does not have a relationship with any other Dallas-area DK-certified entities.
“Gratefully we only had one person there to let the vendor in and he had no contact with any food, the kitchen or serving areas. Still, we can’t be too careful,” said Jordona Kohn, who with Stacey Clark opened The Market in May 2019.
The Market’s cleaning crew was in Saturday night, as is regular, to deep-clean and sanitize the restaurant.
All members of The Market team are being tested, with plans to reopen unclear until all results are in. Already in place were contracts between staff and the owners requiring they only work at The Market, and that they only go between work, home and, if necessary, grocery shopping. Employees have committed to refraining from eating out and from gathering with anyone but those with whom they live.
“We couldn’t be more stringent than we already have been,” said Kohn.
The Market’s notice states that “we may not know the exact steps to take, but we are going to make sure that our staff, their families and our customers are safe. We love our customers and know that you value the transparency and honesty we’ve provided during this uncertain time and we know you’ll be right back with us when it’s time for us to reopen.”
In the last four months The Market has endured much since the breakout of COVID-19. Beginning March 16, ahead of the Dallas County shelter-in-place order, the restaurant refigured their business for to-go and deliveries.
The Market’s full breakfast and lunch menus have been available, with daily dinner specialties posted each week. Online cooking classes have been taught for those picking up prepackaged ingredients from the restaurant. Gift cards, for future use, have also been popular.
“We’ve been creative and we’ve kept going however possible. This is our first year and we knew we wouldn’t be making money yet but this couldn’t have been predicted,” said Kohn, noting their landlord is working with them, month-to-month. “We’re just barely heads-above-water but we’re doing whatever we can to keep treading. The community’s support means everything.”
On June 1, the restaurant reopened to 50% capacity, allowing 35 patrons to dine in, while continuing curbside pickup and delivery. Their busiest day in more than nearly 100 came on Father’s Day, June 21.
“We were thrilled but it was scary,” said Kohn. “We looked around thinking ‘what a blessing’ and ‘it’s too much.’ If we are wearing gloves, masks and face shields, and diners obviously have to take off masks to eat, it’s not safe.”
On June 22 The Market returned to takeout and delivery service only.
“The Market has never compromised. Not since planning their space, the menu and tastes, the service and the respect for kashrut so I’m not surprised they aren’t compromising regarding safety,” said Dallas Kosher–Vaad Hakashrus of Dallas’ Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Sholey Klein. “That they’ve gone way beyond the letter of the law with their concern, is to be recognized and appreciated.
“This extreme step, while they have already suffered financially, should impress as to the integrity that Jordona and Stacey hold for their staff, the mashgichem, their customers and the community-at-large,” said Rabbi Klein. “We hope they’ll be able to reopen very soon and that everyone will continue to be healthy.”
The words careful and community-centric could be added to The Market’s tagline of “local comfort café and bakery.”
In a March 19 article in the Texas Jewish Post, Kohn said, “God is running everything. It’ll be what it is, and that doesn’t mean ‘easy’ or ‘well,’ but we have to have faith, we have to move forward and we have to take care of each other.”
Four months later nothing is easier, but her faith is stronger.“We don’t want even one person to get this because of a connection to The Market. I believe our customers will be back,” said Kohn. “Not one dollar is worth anyone getting sick. Not one.”
For updates to the reopening of The Market, visit themarkettx.com or themarkettx on Facebook. To order gift cards for future purchase, email firstname.lastname@example.org.