Dr. Dave featured in Eater Chicago
Piece Pizza — the Wicker Park brewpub known for New Haven, Connecticut-style pies — is booked for Friday and Saturday. Operating partner Bill Jacobs is excited to welcome back customers. While some restaurant owners have struggled finding employees, Jacobs senses enthusiasm from his. They’re an essential part of what makes Piece successful.
“I will tell you the vast majority are people who want to work,” Jacobs says. “They want to be here, they want to do their job.”
Jacobs is also concerned. In March and April, when Piece was open for carryout and delivery, he says his workers were extremely worried about risking their health. That convinced him to retain Dr. David Nayak as a consultant. Nayak is a practicing allergist-immunologist who studied at the Northwestern University. Jacobs met him years ago in a yoga class.
Nayak — who dabbles in podcasts — wants to help small businesses like Piece. He agreed to examine Piece’s operations. Nayak has also worked with Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale and Paulie Gee’s Pizza in Logan Square. Nayak says his work is about creating an environment where people feel safe. They drill in the basics of using masks, social distancing, and hand washing. It’s repeating many of the steps restaurants should already be taking. Nayak says they draw up a floor plan to make sure folks have enough space in between each other and servers are less likely to run into customers.
“Owners are excited to get increased capacity, but it brings more challenges,” Nayak says. “As you bring in more customers, you increase the risk of transmission.”