Bushwallers Closing COVID

Bushwaller's, a longtime Irish restaurant and bar on North Market Street, will not see the biggest day of the year Tuesday as they would have been filled to capacity for St. Patrick's Day. Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that all restaurants and bars were to close at 5 p.m. Monday. Bushwaller's will continue to be open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. for carryout food, beer and wine and food delivery. Amanda Mayers, a server and bartender, joined the restaurant's crew of 21 employees Monday evening to do a deep cleaning and prepare for the limited closing. She said missing the holiday celebration will have a significant financial impact on the staff.

Maryland’s latest attempts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus by temporarily eliminating dine-in service at bars and restaurants left Frederick businesses scrambling to figure out how to deal with the measure.

The order limited restaurants to drive-thru, carryout and delivery options for customers as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Amid a sparse lunch crowd Monday following Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement, Bushwaller’s owner Amber Demorett said the uncertainty of the situation and how long it will last is what scares everyone.

She planned to take the next few days to see what happens, and was waiting for the county’s liquor board to provide more information on what they can and can’t do with carryout sales of beer and wine.

Business was slow Thursday, Demorett said, after Hogan’s initial announcement of a ban on gatherings of 250 or more and the closing of schools in the state for two weeks. Then Friday and Saturday were very busy, then Sunday was slow and Monday even slower.

Demorett said she expected to drastically cut hours for the roughly 20 employees who work at the bar.

More immediately, Monday’s announcement came the day before St. Patrick’s Day, when Irish bars such as Bushwaller’s draw huge crowds.

Demorett said they spend the whole year planning for St. Patrick’s Day, and many of the staff count on the tips they receive.

“Our biggest day of the year just got canceled,” she said.

Jarrett Walsh, the new owner of The Tasting Room, said he planned to give 20 percent of any carryout orders to his wait staff, since they wouldn’t have any customers from which to collect tips.

His 30 employees would at least be kept on unemployment, although he would like to continue paying them himself if possible.

It’s been a rocky week for Walsh since he took over the restaurant last Monday, handling the fallout of the pandemic.

“We’re dealing with it as best we can, for sure,” Walsh said.

Jasmin Tregoning and her partner Benjamin Cohen had just opened the brick-and-mortar location of Gambrill Mountain Food Co. on Friday. The company had previously run a successful food truck operation.

After a great turnout on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant will be open for credit card-only carryout service “until we figure out what’s going on,” Tregoning said.

She spent part of Monday making sure the restaurant’s entries on sites such as GrubHub and DoorDash were up-to-date.

With 10 employees, two of whom are family and another a close friend, she was confident they would weather the storm.

“We’ll see what happens. We’re feeling positive and optimistic,” she said.

At the Pop Shop, owner Michelle Schaffer said the store would get rid of the few seats it has, but since their business is mostly people getting ice cream or soda to go, she didn’t think they would have to close entirely.

Tasting Room COVID

Tasting Room waiter Ricky Moreno takes lunch orders Monday, just hours before restaurants were ordered to close for dine-in service by Gov. Larry Hogan.

The store is opening a new addition in a storefront next to their location on North Market Street, and Schaffer said she had hoped to open it by Easter.

But without knowing how long the governor’s order would remain in effect, she didn’t know if they would be able to have a grand opening for the new space.

“This is all uncharted waters,” Schaffer said.

Firestone’s Culinary Tavern put boxes of free food outside Monday evening, including produce and eggs.

They’d been hoping to stay open for St. Patrick’s Day, said General Manager Keelin Mallory, but had started a plan to close up on Sunday night.

“We already had as many employees as we could come in today and grocery-shop, essentially, in the restaurant, and now I just have all of these leftovers,” Mallory said.

The restaurant’s management and staff were taking it one day at a time.

“The owner is graciously paying everybody 50 percent salary for the next week at least just to help see what we can do,” Mallory said.

Their employees get bonuses at the end of the year, which they’ll be able to pull from over the next few weeks, as well as use some vacation days to try to help them get through the closures.

Andrew Popper, general manager of Taco Daddy, woke to Hogan giving his speech announcing the closure.

Not knowing how long the order would be in effect made it hard to deal with, Popper said.

The restaurant will do some sort of takeout, with a limited menu.

They gave away chicken and beef tacos, chips, and steak burritos Monday afternoon.

“People were elated to see that we were giving them out,” Popper said. “They were surprised. A lot of people were blessing us. You know, it’s just nice to kind of see the faces of the people less fortunate. You know, we’re all kind of struggling in this situation, so it’s nice to be able to, you know, help out any way you can.”

He hoped patrons would continue to support the Frederick restaurant community.

“I know a lot of businesses downtown and even around the area who don’t have a drive-thru, who unfortunately have to be shut down, are kind of testing it out,” Popper said. “So I mean, if you see any businesses doing this, please support them. Tip well.”

As restaurants and bars were closing Monday night in downtown Frederick, Christine Szabados was enjoying a “last supper” at Summitra Thai Cuisine.

Szabados, who lives in downtown Frederick, said she was doing her part to help downtown businesses before they were forced to close dine-in services at 5 p.m.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do,” Szabados said of restaurants and bars. “At least we can come in and do carryout ... because these are my friends.”

Tasting Room COVID

Jarrett Walsh, the new owner of The Tasting Room on North Market Street, chats with a group having lunch Monday.

Many bars and restaurants are figuring out the logistics of operating only in carryout and delivery mode. That includes Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar on South Market Street.

Wade Newman, co-owner of that bar, said as of Monday night, he and colleagues will be closed through Wednesday to figure out logistics and do some deep cleaning of the bar.

“With seafood, it’s a little bit more difficult from a takeout perspective,” Newman said. “You want seafood coming out hot, steamed and fresh.”

“It’s going to be a grind ... but everybody will come together, and it’s a great community down here,” he added.

Karen Medley, bar manager at Wag’s Restaurant and Bar, was cleaning up around 5 p.m. Friday and said she is in wait-and-see mode to see how the mandated closing might affect business.

Medley said it’s unlikely Wag’s will offer any takeout or delivery services, given the type of food they serve. The bar’s owner, John Wagner, will have to determine how long Wag’s can survive without any income coming in, she said.

“Just tell them not to forget about us,” Medley said of the public and when Wag’s might reopen.

Staff writers Steve Bohnel and Hannah Himes contributed to this report.

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Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(43) comments


I love Bill Green's photos.


It’s impossible to have a competent federal response to tackle coronavirus when the president is incompetent




Thank you for this FNP. I plan to continue to support my favorite restaurants.

I would suggest publishing a daily list of restaurants offering pick up, along with the phone numbers to call and maybe a link to their available menu.


Thank you for the suggestion,

However I suggest you simply go to their website. The writers and staff have plenty of more important tasks to execute.

Stay healthy

Kelly Q Alzan

Lead Commenter


I suggest the newspaper can do a little something to boost local economy and help out small business owners. But you do you, Kelly. More snide remarks to come, I guess. And who voted you a lead commenter?


It is lead, as in “lead poisoning”.


Your suggestion has been reviewed and it was decided to not go that route. Thank you for the suggestion.

Kelly Q Alzan

Lead Vomiter


I wish Wags would reconsider and at least offer take away for their burgers and a few sandwiches. Those wrap up easily.


I’m questioning if hogan has the authority to shut down private business.


Kelly-my thoughts exactly. I'm glad someone else isnt drinking the kool aid. under what authority does Hogan usurp the 1st amendment right of people to peaceably assemble? Amazing how quickly we give up our rights in the name of 'health and safety.' Wait until the supply chain starts breaking down and see how those same people start screaming bloody murder


I am very concerned about the virus. I do not want to be the one going around spreading the virus. And I do not want anyone to die over it.

But, the grocery stores are out of food. We do not have a stock pile of food because we were waiting for the stores to restock and give time for all the sheeple to get their panic out of their system. And now restaurants are closed. Why not send health inspectors to the restaurants and make sure the dishwashers are fully functioning correctly, etc?

The restaurant business is not a get rich business. They have bills to pay. Shutting them down with NO notice, no time to prepare will have unattended consequences.

Without the online social media lecture, one upping, chest thumping, can anyone, explain or answer what authority the governor has to do this?


A quick search online (probably less time that it took for you to write your post) shows that he has invoked the Maryland Constitution (emergency orders, I assume), "including but not limited to Title 14 of the public safety article".


Kelly, I don’t think you understand how the virus spreads, if you think a functioning dishwasher will prevent it. It’s the mere fact of people being in close quarters and breathing, coughing, sneezing. You can’t clean that away.


Seven I know how viruses spread. You missed my point, as usual. I’m not writing a volume like Gabbs does. Short, sweet,’and to the point. Takes a certain min level of intelligence to know what I’m saying.


[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Well said Kelly!!


“ But, the grocery stores are out of food.”

So you haven’t been to a grocery store. Whatevs.


You have your pick of take away at many restaurants, Kelly. Or delivery. Please patronize them.


Since you were not at the monthly FNP Commenters meeting, would you like to join me for dinner?


Actually, seven was there. Didn’t see you, though.


You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Seriously, it is going to take virtually complete marshall law to eradicate this pox. We can can eventually get this under control, but it isn’t going to happen by just wishing and praying it away. For the religious, it’s time to pray to God, but swim for shore if you want to survive.




Thank you.

Greg F

You can't swim to shore if you're clasping your hands in prayer. Which of the millions of gods over history has ever saved anyone...including the millions who died in the Spanish Flu outbreak? Lots of atheists survived that too...so can't say a god saved them.


God loves atheists.


Jhol doesn’t give a hoot about either atheists or a-atheists.


He does! See the Maryland Constitution, Title 14 of the Public Safety Article.


Thank you


I thought that was only if martial law was declared and NOT an EO.

The Grape of Wrath

This will test the innovation of many business owners. Let's see who can turn this into an opportunity, innovate and grow vs those who can only whine, complain of scariness and demand more handouts and socialism.

Greg F

No amount of innovation is going to allow seating in restaurants that count on that foot traffic. Really...would you go out and take-out 2 racks of ribs and all the sides? Probably more likely to grab something easier to carry. Me...I'll be going out and carrying out at all the places I normally go to show support, including the Asian places that many of the racists won't go to out of ignorance and fear. Hope the rest of you do also.


So Hogan bans eating/drinking in restaurants and bars because these groups of people “may spread” the virus. BUT it’s alright for these same groups to pack butt to butt in the grocery stores trying to get the last bag of frozen chicken? How does that make sense?


Listening to several elderly people in Walmart curse Trump over his handling of coronavirus in WV is a bad omen for republicans


Hope they survive to vote


You seem to have forgotten that WV doesn’t have any cases so why would they be “cursing” him Boris?


People will be okay without their lil restaurant forays. Cheers


It isn't about eating out, it is about servers losing their jobs if this prolongs for a period of time longer than just a few weeks.


For Kelp: Yah, even some people of European ancestry will have a hard time.

Greg F

Wow...are you three years old with a response like that? Many restaurants run on thin margins and long days. This is going to put a lot of them under, along with their staff. Get a life and go farm your hippie kelp.


No hope for kelp. Beyond redemption.


I believe he is just a former commenter with a new handle. Nothing new in the delusional comments.


Looking at the times of his posts he is sleep deprived..


Correct hay. Look

Closely at the writing style. We’ve seen it before. You can change your name, but you can’t change your writing style

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