Restaurant gets creative

Free TP with Nutmeg’s orders over $25 on Tuesdays

OKEECHOBEE — In reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, businesses around Okeechobee have had to find creative ways to adjust to the new rules and restrictions put in place by the state and federal governments.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
In addition to paninis and sandwiches, Nutmeg’s offers a wide variety of desserts.

On March 20, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order closing restaurant dining rooms for the duration of the state’s state of emergency. This has forced restaurants around Okeechobee to think outside of the box in order to say afloat during the pandemic.

Nutmeg’s in Okeechobee complied with the executive order and shut down their dining room, while staying open for takeout. They also made the decision to deliver as well.

The only problem with that is you need an insurance policy that covers your employees if they’re going to be traveling around town delivering food. Without that policy, Nutmeg’s owner Megan Mattson took up delivery duty for herself.

“I’m personally delivering,” said Mrs. Mattson. “I’ve been mostly just staying here in Okeechobee so I can deliver because we have DoorDash and Uber Eats at the other store in Sebring.”

Mrs. Mattson and her staff have brainstormed ways to entice customers to place an order with Nutmeg’s in the midst of the shutdown.

“We’ve been doing OK so far,” explained Megan, “but I’m not afraid to switch things up and think outside the box. People really have to make some changes. I don’t think right now you can just put your regular menu out there and just expect that it’s going to be the same.”

On Friday Nutmeg’s had a gift card roulette for customers. Staff at the restaurant filled out a number of gift cards for different amounts of food and store credit and then randomly placed them in to-go bags.

Nutmeg’s first opened in Okeechobee in 2012 before opening a second store in Sebring in 2015. The restaurant serves sandwiches, paninis, salads, soups, 12 different flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, cakeballs and cheesecake.

One of the more out-of-the-box ideas Megan has came up with in the midst of the pandemic is “Toilet Paper Tuesday.”

Nutmeg’s is offering a free roll of toilet paper with every order of $25 or more on Tuesdays.

Originally, Megan thought of ordering an extra case of toilet paper from her vendor and selling it at the store for those who couldn’t find it anywhere else in town. But after covering the costs of ordering the paper and including credit card fees and tax, the price was just too expensive to justify.

“I had thought to order some of that toilet paper for people who might need it and just sell it at cost; however, it turned out to be pretty expensive,” said Megan. “So I just thought, you know, why not give it away that day? I might start doing it with some other essential things as well. I think people appreciate it, even if it’s only a small gesture.”

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