COVID-19 sparks decline in business at Fort Worth restaurants and bars


Restaurants in Fort Worth have seen a decline in customers due to COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Kay Greenlee)

By Caroline Garland

Fort Worth businesses have experienced hardships in the wake of COVID-19, especially the bars and restaurants around campus.

Dutch’s Burgers and Beers on South University Drive has experienced a decline in patrons. Managing partner Kay Greenlee said the restaurant is usually packed with the return of TCU students in the fall, but this year has been different.

“There has been a decline in our business but it has gotten much better,” Greenlee said. “It is not 100% back where it was but it’s much better. The biggest difference we see is we’re getting more night-time business than we normally would.”

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Berry Street has also experienced tough times due to COVID-19 restrictions. Eduardo Jiminez, the general manager, said he is very concerned with the decline in sales.

“As far as the business goes, well you know it all relates around sales because once sales drop then that means we’re not able to afford much labor anymore,” said Jiminez. “It’s sad to see these employees’ hours get cut from 40 to 20 hours a week.”

Jiminez said the postponement of TCU football games and lack of visitors at TCU has also greatly affected his restaurant’s business. 

The bars in Fort Worth are making adjustments to open doors during the pandemic. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said a bar can only be open if 51% of its sales come from food. To help the bars reopen, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has removed restrictions and amended the rules for bars. 

Briana Brown, a senior fashion merchandising major, said she has noticed a big decline in the number of people in bars since her return to TCU this semester. 

“The bars are really quiet, and you have to stay seated at your assigned table; you cannot walk around or dance anymore,” Brown said. “I think people are not frequenting the bars as much right now because of these rules; it takes the fun out of the whole bar experience.”

The bars around TCU are definitely feeling the effects of COVID-19. 

Whiskey Garden bouncer and security guard Conner Peterson, said business has been down this year even with the return of TCU students.

Students are not booking parties at the bar as often as they have in previous years, he said.

“I’ve also noticed a lot of TCU students do not know which bars are open and which are closed, which is leading to a far smaller number of students at the bar scene than previously seen,” Peterson said.