By Jenny King
Small businesses serving food during this time share a common hardship: retaining customers and business during COVID-19. For Miri’s at Golden Gardens, the hardship also lies in location. Access to the main parking lot near Miri’s has prevented what would typically draw large crowds on a clear day from dining at Miri’s and roaming the beach.
For some, the beach provides an escape of the city to an expanse of salty air and sea. Miri’s provides walkers a tasty combination of Israeli and Dutch cuisine with its unique concession stand food. From grilled lamb and chicken kebabs to Poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes) topped with your choice of Nutella, whipped cream, or fresh fruit, customers can try different options that stand out from your typical concession stand food. While crowds at Golden Gardens are nowhere near the size they would typically be during this time in Seattle, bystanders still can be found walking the sand and sidewalks.
In order to access the beach, bystanders are compelled to search for alternative solutions for parking. People are found parallel parking on the side of roads in restricted areas or in any open spaces near the park with the hope of enjoying the oceanic views. For some who wish to escape the confinement of their home to bask in the fresh air risk a fine if parked in a restricted zone. This presents a disadvantage to those who wish to visit the green space but cannot afford the payment of a parking fee.
While citizens are asked to remain cautious and safe when visiting outdoor green spaces during the pandemic, Miri Plowman, the owner of Miri’s, has noticed how the parking lot’s closure has made it challenging for those with physical ailments to reach the park.
“It is only accessible to able bodies. If you have any kind of disability you are not able to walk in,” Plowman said.
Due to the main lot’s closure, this has affected the number of customers who order at Miri’s as well. The location of Miri’s lies at the end of the park near the main parking lot. Therefore, those who wish to eat at Miri’s have to be more creative with how they access the local food spot.
But just as there is hardship, Plowman has found hope and has witnessed how the support of her dedicated customers has not ceased despite the circumstances. Now more than ever small businesses like Miri’s see the testament of their service and hard work when customers still return while in the midst of a pandemic. Miri has seen this true for her business.
“A certain percentage of our regular customers are being more consistent,” Plowman said.
Devoted customers return to support Miri and her business knowing that small businesses like hers, among others, are taking the brunt end of the pandemic.
Miri, who has traveled abroad exploring her cultural roots, has found that some of her best dining experiences were the ones that required an hour’s train ride or that happened to be a place she stumbled upon. To her, these places were like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. While the journey may have been difficult, the experience of great cuisine was worth it in the end.
Although access to Miri’s does not require an hour’s bus ride through the countryside as it was for her upon discovering a hidden gem, in the same way during this pandemic, one could say that Miri’s has become the gold at the end of the parking lot. While visiting the location may require creativity with the parking lot’s closure, customers of Miri’s will find that the journey was worth it.
Miri’s has recently launched a new website in which orders can be taken online and made available for pickup.
Top Photo: Jenny King
Jenny King is a Seattle Pacific University journalism student. For more SPU student coverage of Ballard, visit Seattle in a Time of Change