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I’ve been back in Lubbock for a little over a week, and I’ve made it a point to try a different restaurant in town each month -- whether it's in person, or by way of delivery, and bring my honest opinion to you guys.

I have a huge spot in my heart for the men and women in the service industry, and I think it’s important to check in on our local establishments during this crazy year of layoffs, closures, and bankruptcies.

Before I got the call to join The RockShow, I worked as the head chef of a Danish-language immersion program, and the coronavirus pandemic completely closed down our non-profit organization, laying off hundreds of employees, and leaving me with far too much time on my hands to drink cheap whiskey. But I digress.

Sunday afternoon, I had a hankering for a beer and heard from a friend that Shotzy’s Bar and Grill off 82nd and Indiana served up some of the biggest beers in town.

We decided that was enough incentive for us, headed over, and found a seat at the bar, which has a really cool table top covered in hundreds of pennies. I wasn’t particularly hungry when we arrived, but after I ordered the biggest beer ever, I figured some food might be a good idea.

I ordered a simple chef salad, and my boyfriend had the club sandwich and tots. I feel like salads are often overlooked and wimpy at restaurants, but this one was pretty spot on. I also had a few of Trevor’s tots, which were exceptionally crispy and far better than the mushy ones you find most places. Overall, we had a great experience, and we plan to go back and try out their French dip soon.

I had the chance to talk to Crystal Thompson, who opened Shotzy’s in 2018. She revealed to me some of the struggles her restaurant has faced amid the pandemic.

She informed me that they were completely closed for a total of five months and that her employees had to be laid off. Some of them didn't even qualify for unemployment. She had to continue to pay for rent and insurance, among many other things, with no money coming in.

She confided in me that having to let her employees go was heartbreaking, and I know that's the case for thousands of dining establishments across the U.S. It seems that people employed in food service felt the financial stress of the pandemic more than other industries.

Thompson remains hopeful, however.

While Shotzy’s was closed, they were able to get a couple renovations done to help liven the place up more and to welcome back all of their regulars. After all of the setbacks, Thompson still seems positive and is looking forward to the future of the bar. When asked to describe her bar, she very simply said: "Home. This is home."

If you check out Shotzy’s Bar and Grill, let me know what you think. And don’t forget to support local business to keep all of those favorite mom-and-pop places alive and kickin'.

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