In November 2020, Woodchips BBQ of Downtown Lapeer, defied MDHHS orders and kept their dining room open during Michigan’s second lockdown. Patrick Hingst, owner and founder of the restaurant, is now sharing details of their story on a newly released podcast called Restaurant Revolution.
Restaurant Revolution is available on all major podcasting platforms and it gives an inside look of what it was like to run a small business in Michigan in 2020. It highlights the challenges the restaurant faced during the first lockdown, reopening the restaurant for the summer after the lockdown was lifted, then takes listeners through the decision to remain open during the “pause” and the consequences the restaurant faced for disobeying the orders.
“During the first lockdown, we followed the Governor’s edicts and we shut down. We saw how that devastated our team and our community;” Hingst says, “we couldn’t let that happen again, so we made the difficult decision to stay open when the second lockdown was announced. We are now telling our full story so that both our supporters and detractors can make a more informed opinion about our efforts and the government’s response.”
In addition to Patrick, listeners will hear from the restaurant’s lawyer and teammates detailing their experiences working with Patrick and Woodchips BBQ.
“I was happy to offer my services to Patrick because I was proud of the work he was doing. I was hoping more citizens would stand-up and make the case for freedom, but what really drew me to Patrick was his sincere interest in preserving his team’s livelihood and community spirit,” said Attorney Erik Reinhardt who is representing Woodchips BBQ in their administrative legal hearings. He continues, “now after witnessing the process for these legal proceedings, I have concerns about American values and the direction we are headed as a country.”
Throughout the podcast, Patrick highlights why he made the decisions he did despite being otherwise lawful and strongly committed to following traditional Health Code requirements. As a Food Safety Expert, TIPS Trainer, ServSafe Certified Food Safety Manager Trainer and Test Proctor with over 23 years of industry experience and more than 11 years as a business owner, Patrick’s establishments have always passed inspections with a near flawless record.
“In November, we made the difficult decision to stay open because we knew in my heart it was the right thing to do for my team and our community. We knew we could do it safely, and that the data available did not support the narrative that restaurants are “super spreading” outliers. We knew that we would face some backlash, and if it came to legal action, I thought we would have our day in court to explain our decision. Unfortunately, that may not be the case as we wait to hear back from MDHHS on our out-standing penalties after being steamrolled during our first supposed ‘appeal’,” Hingst claims, “creating doubt in my mind that our legal system works for ‘we the people'”
As part of their decision to stay open, the restaurant committed to giving back to the community. They have spearheaded several charitable efforts, including $1,000 donations to local organizations that have seen increased need during the lockdowns. Woodchips BBQ has also partnered with the Stone Soup Food Bank and Lapeer Center Building to host a regular dinner series providing free meals and entertainment. The next event will take place at the Lapeer Center Building at 425 Center St. on April 29 from 5pm-7pm and is open to the public at no cost. At the event, they will be trying to raise money to support a Lapeer High School student who has acquired large medical bills unrelated to Covid.
Woodchips say this is just the beginning of their charitable efforts and continue to find ways to support the community at large.
Restaurant Revolution can be found on Apple iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms including YouTube. Additional content and commentary can be found on their Facebook and Instagram pages.