A Baby & A Pandemic…In That Order

Well, it has been quite the First Quarter for the Cantina Crew and likely, everyone around the world! If you would have told me a year ago that I would be having a beautiful baby boy followed by a city shutdown, I would have laughed and likely said, “There are way to many Tacos to Sling and Cervezas to be had!” Life happens and Noah and myself would have it no other way.

We will start with Baby Otis. Some may ask…Why Otis? Well, I initially thought Noah brought it to my attention because it seemed original and we have never known an Otis. Then after remembering his favorite song, “Sittin’on The Dock Of The Bay,” By Otis Redding, I quickly thought, this might have had something to do with it. I was right! What about Patrick? Patrick comes from our late Grandpa and pays homage to Noah’s Irish Heritage. So baby Otis is named after two badass’s. Otis Patrick…we think it has a nice ring to it!

These first three months with OPY (a nickname he will likely go by, as it is his initials☺) have been nothing short of wonderful. He truly is such a cool dude! We are sleeping through the night, he is cooing and smiling non-stop, and the kid was holding his head up at 3 weeks; he is pretty damn cool!

Now, being the oldest of 6 girls, one might think that I had confidence in becoming a mother. Let me tell you, that was not the case. I consider myself a very good babysitter, but having my own, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What? Also, a Boy? The first time Opy peed on me, I was in shock. The second time…mad at myself because I wasn’t ready! The third time, I was armed! The first time Opy slept through the night seemed fantastic for him and Noah, however for myself…shoot I was up at 3am and again at 5am checking the monitor as I thought for sure, someone had stole the baby! The kid is killing the newborn game and I think Noah and I are doing the parenting thing fairly well. Don’t get me wrong, most days are controlled chaos, but we aren’t screaming out loud too often. Our work/life balance is going to be interesting; we celebrated Opy’s 1 Month birthday by doing a catering! The kid is going to be dropping fries and making change for the register by the time he is a toddler. His future is looking bright (insert his future annoyed bitmoji).

Moving on to this current Pandemic that we all find ourselves in. By the time Opy was 3 weeks old, I found myself back on the food truck. While yes, I wanted to spend every minute with my new dude, I also wanted a few hours out of the house and this event was a big one. If only you got PTO as a small business owner! A short shift here and there, would be my new normal, for a month. I had started discussing a schedule with a possible babysitter, I had my mom on board for one day a week and also my grandmother. Scheduling was starting to come full circle, when the city decided to shut down! What the hell?

My first thought…alright, I will give this the two weeks that the government says we need in order to stop the spread. Chef Noah would say I am very naive when it comes to some things as he had been reading about the Coronavirus since November, and knew this was on the horizon. I am now aware that this will last longer than anyone had ever expected.

Two weeks in, we knew we weren’t going to be able to ride this out. Yes, under the city shutdown, Food Trucks could continue to operate as we are considered “To-Go” food, we knew the less people we came in contact with, the better for our family and ultimately, Baby Opy. With this, we decided to jumped on board with meal deliveries…a Take & Bake approach. Chef Noah would develop weekly menus and I would deliver to families around the Louisville area. The support of our family and friends was overwhelming. A simple share on social media was going a long way! Chef Noah was also stepping back to his beginning days as a Chef and revisiting some of his original recipes. We are now a month and a half in and these meals have been carrying our family through this horrific time. I cannot believe we thought we could ride this wave. We are so thankful that these meals have been well received….they are damn good; I am currently craving the Cheesy Chicken Bake!

With regards to how we move forward….We plan to continue to develop weekly menus and provide deliveries throughout the summer. We will also slowly jump back on the truck, mid May. We are working to carefully develop our new lunch approach to ensure social distancing and, while proper sanitation has never been a concern on the Cantina, we will continue to exceed expectations in this area.

The one thing that I love about this community, is that we are #localstrong! I feel confident that our service industry can and will bounce back from this. It has been amazing to see my fellow food truck owners, restaurateurs, etc step up to the needs of our city. From deliveries to free meals, our industry has truly shined! I am continuing to be optimistic on what the months ahead might hold. Stay tuned for continued updates about how we will attempt to adapt to our NEW “Normal.” Now, I have taken enough of your time and Opy is hungry! The Cantina crew looks forward to seeing you at a 6 Foot distance in the weeks ahead. Stay well!

-H Yates

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