Saddleback Barbecue pays it forward, helps Coach’s Bar & Grill survive pandemic

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By Tony Garcia

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for community — maybe more than ever before.

So when Saddleback Barbecue owners Travis Stoliker and Matt Gillett saw they could make a difference, they didn’t hesitate to help. Coach’s Pub & Grill’s sales are down 65 percent during Covid-19. Like man restaurants, they’ve had a hard time surviving and have debated shutting their doors on multiple occasions.

But a few weeks ago, 4-H donated a prized hog to Saddleback, who then decided to pay it forward and help Coach’s.

“It just floored us when they told us they wanted to help out,” said Coach’s owner Jim Macqueen. “(When we found out) what the outcome of it could be, we were pretty awestruck.”

Saddleback donated the hog and teamed up with coach’s to create a special menu –pulled pork, mac and cheese, creole-style okra, dinner rolls and a bottle of their savory sauce.

“Our phone has just rang off the hook…I think we sold out in a little over 36 hours,” Macqueen said. “People from all over the state are reaching out to us, it’s just been amazing.”

Travis says he’s used his 20-thousand facebook followers to help donate thousands of meals during the pandemic.

“It’s just been incredible to see the impact our community can have in helping out the community,” Stoliker said. “That’s what led us to wanting to help other restaurants.”

Coach’s owners have a unique history with their restaurant — they met there 13 years ago, before they owned it. That type of family atmosphere resonated with Travis.

“Restaurants are a family story and coach’s is no different,” he said. “To be able to help a family and have the community come out and support is just incredible.”

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