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Despite pandemic, new Cape Cod restaurants optimistic about future

On March 10, Peter Duff, owner and chef at Fare and Just Kitchen in Brewster, successfully closed on the purchase of his dream brick-and-mortar store. One day later, the state ordered all restaurants closed because of the spread of COVID-19.

As reports across the Cape and the region continue to show small businesses closing in the face of restrictions put in place because of the pandemic, a few restaurants on the Cape have opened, with some owners saying they just couldn’t wait for the perfect opportunity.

Duff was a personal chef, traveling to people’s homes to cook a plant-based meal, but when the opportunity arose to take over the former Karma Foods, he couldn’t resist.

Duff took out a few loans and did some crowdfunding. He bought all the equipment that was already in the facility and leases the building from the owner.

“The opportunity came up a lot sooner than I thought it would,” Duff said. “I had to take it.”

At the time of sale, there was some talk about the coronavirus spreading in the area, but he had no idea what was to come.

Initially, Duff planned on doing a slow transition of the restaurant’s fare, but plans sped up as he scaled down the menu and focused on takeout, offering plant-based and gluten-free prepared foods.

Opening during the pandemic, Duff said, was stressful, and he asked himself questions like, “Can I pay for this? Can I afford this?”

“Owning my own business is something that I’ve never done before,” he said.