PERRY, Mo. — With winter weather waiting in the wings, one local restaurant in Perry is making plans to ensure no one goes hungry when the roads get bad.
The Short Line Cafe opened last month; General Manager Sean Gallagher is new to the area, but heard about the treacherous conditions last winter. He was also told that some in the area were struggling to get what they needed.
“It was mentioned to me that in the winter there were several days that people couldn’t get out. There were families and elderly people that went three or four days with no food and no ability to get food,” he said. “The idea is that I could at least service this area with delivery.”
Gallager said that inspiration came from the neighboring town of Paris where the Paris Senior Center continued to deliver meals to their patrons when the weather got bad.
Laurie Gossett, who is on the Paris Senior Center Board of Directors, said the service Gallagher plans to provide could be great for the Perry community.
She said it was her husband, Forrest Gossett, who took on the winter roads during last year’s storms.
“It wasn’t every time we had a snow day, but if it were a Friday then he would make sure that everyone in Paris, Holliday and Madison had Meals on Wheels,” she said. “He would load up his car and off he would go.”
Gossett said that when the schools close, the senior center does too. While the highways might be cleared off there are many hard to travel gravel roads on the Paris, Holliday and Madison Meals on Wheels route. That’s when Forrest stepped in and took frozen meals along with items donated from the food pantry.
Gallagher’s idea is similar, as he plans to offer customers to order meals several days in advance when inclement weather is expected. Once the storm hits, Gallagher still plans to deliver in four-wheel drive pickups and possibly offer trips to Hickman’s IGA.
The Short Line Cafe actually plans to deliver in all seasons. Gallagher said this started when a customer brought a pizza back and told them it wasn’t good.
“We had a patron come in who said we made him a bad pizza. Turns out the gentleman is a pizza connoisseur, and has been in the pizza business for 35 years,” said Gallagher. “So I made a deal with him that if he would come in and train us to properly make a pizza that I would comp his food and he would eat here for free.”
That customer not only returned to teach them to make pizza, but Gallagher made sure he stuck around.
“Now he works for us, and is developing a pizza section for us,” he said. “He is helping us to develop a pizza delivery route for the one-and-a-half mile area around Perry. We are getting a driver and everything together with how we go about it and trafficking times and things like that.”
Gallagher said this should be available in the next few weeks.
No matter what the weather is outside, he said they will do what it takes to make sure that the Perry community is fed.
“If we have to go to IGA and get groceries or we have to deliver meals, however we can go about that, nobody goes hungry for days at a time anymore.”