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The iconic Packing House hopes you stop in for drinks after new HVAC system with UV light installed

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Posted at 7:01 AM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 23:27:51-05

MILWAUKEE — There’s no tip-toeing around it. The restaurant industry is struggling to survive this pandemic. Even the most iconic institutions in our industry.

In our We’re Open Series, we touched base with the owner of The Packing House, seven months after we last spoke.

Chris Wiken craves the day when things are back to normal at his 47-year-old family restaurant.

He understands the grim reality of where we are in this pandemic, “Some of the estimates I hear are 60+ percent of restaurants like our type is going to fail. I think that's extremely realistic.”

His drive-thru has helped streamline takeout. But in the seven months since we last spoke, the restaurant industry has not improved enough, “We cannot be profitable at 50-percent it's really that simple,” said Wiken. “There is so much overhead.”

Grant money is helping his business stay afloat but warns, “If there's not another round of grants or some sort of stimulus for restaurants, in particular, you’re going to see widespread restaurant closures.”

He has been able to bring back double the number of employees since June. But he still worries about 40 others who are anxiously hoping to get back to work, “You’re not giving up,” asked Julia Fello. Wiken answered, “No, we're definitely not, and our staff is on board too I’m very blessed for them they really have pulled us through this and they stay positive.”

Most of all, he is relying on people like you to know they are doing everything in their power to remain part of our community.

Here is your Rebound Rundown:

  • The Packing House is open for dinner and takeout Wednesdays - Sundays.
    • Located at: 900 E. Layton Avenue in Milwaukee
  • New H-Vac system installed with UV light

There are hundreds of restaurants we have highlighted in our We’re Open series. Click here to learn more.

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