MILWAUKEE — Triciclo Peru opened at 38th and Vliet four months ago. It's a gem in Milwaukee's Near West Side neighborhood. But it has to adapt the way it operates to stay afloat.
Co-owner Amy Narr spent four years volunteering with the Peace Corps in Peru. While there, she didn't only fall in love with her husband, Mario.
"I fell in love with the food, Peruvian food is amazing," Narr said. "When we came back to Milwaukee together, we realized that there was not a whole lot of Peruvian food here."
- The List: These Restaurants Are Offering Carryout, Delivery
- Are You Open? Submit Your Business!
- FULL COVERAGE: Coronavirus News And Resources You Can Use
They started offering homemade Peruvian Empanadas out of a food truck. They would sell them at local farmer's markets and the Humboldt Park Beer Garden. They worked hard, saved up, and in December opened Triciclo.
"Who could have predicted what would have happened next with this pandemic and stay at home order?" she said. "It's devastating. We're trying to still focus on the positives, our loyal customers."
Now, Triciclo is only open for takeout six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. They do not do delivery. Customers can call ahead or message their orders via Facebook or Instagram, and Narr brings the food out to cars.
"It's super easy to pull up, get your food, drive off, and get on with your day," Said Sylvia Wessel, who ordered lunch. "This kind of restaurant is what makes our community special. It's worth helping any way we can."
The full menu is available, as well as frozen empanadas for families looking for a quick meal to warm-up at home later.
"It's keeping us going for now," Narr said.
But not without challenges and heartbreak.
"It's not like having people in our restaurant every day," she said. "We've had to cut about 14 staff members, which is really hard for us and them."
And there are extra precautions in place for the few employees they still have.
"Making sure they're coming in their own cars to work every day, and not taking public transportation," Narr said. "We check-in and make sure they're feeling well every day. Washing hands, and we all wear masks in the kitchen as well."
Narr and her husband plan to hire their whole team back as soon as they can. They say they're beyond thankful for every order and customer right now.