Pumpernickles at Creve Coeur Farm

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Owner Harlan Levin said the pandemic made it difficult to run business as usual.

CREVE COEUR, Mo. – The pandemic continues to create all sorts of staffing shortages, supply issues and overall different lifestyles for the restaurant industry.

Pumpernickles Deli at Creve Coeur is no stranger to this new normal. 5 On Your Side spoke to owner Harlan Levin who says it’s closing more than just a restaurant.

“I have clients who come here once a day, twice a day, and we know all about them,” he said. “And we will miss them.”

Harlan Levin credits the pandemic as the reason for the company’s closure.

“Our biggest problem is that there is no one in these office buildings,” he said. “So during the week all my people who eat here are retired.”

The Levins aren’t the first summer industry to fight for workers.

Ted Drewes on Grand Avenue cannot open his location due to a lack of staff.

St. Charles County Pools began requiring proof of residency during their lifeguard shortage.

St. Louis County raised lifeguard pay to $15 an hour plus bonuses. And they cover training and certification costs.

Six Flags in St. Louis offers up to $18 per hour and $500 signing bonuses for Hurricane Harbor rescuers.

This restaurant was more than just a business for Harlan Levin. It was a way of life he shared with his son.

“We’ve had our days without talking,” Bryan Leven said.

Bryan Levin said even the hurdles of running a family business were no match for the pandemic. He said the world of delivery orders and home zooms left him with empty tables, fewer orders and no longer able to work with his family every day.

“I just wish I could keep doing it with them for as long as possible,” Bryan Levin said.

The Levin family story begins and ends with Pumpernickles Deli.

“My son met his wife here, and because of this place I have a 2-year-old grandson. So I don’t look back and have no regrets,” Harlan Levin said.

Harlan Levin and his son are now auctioning off items from their restaurant and following the rest of the standard cleaning procedures.

Before they started anything else, they said they were planning to take their first month off in a long time.

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