The Saratoga Sun -

Firewater bottles up for winter

Local restaurant to close dining room temporarily as slow months arrive in Valley


November 18, 2020

Joshua Wood

The "Nope" sign at Firewater is lit up on November 16. The local eatery has closed its dining room effective immediately.

Despite what appeared to be a late boost to the tourist economy in the Valley, the economic impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) are still being felt as temperatures drop and confirmed cases continue to rise. The effects of those economic impacts are being seen as at least one local restaurant is preparing to reduce business.

Firewater Public House (Firewater) will be ceasing dining room operations for the foreseeable future beginning as of November 16. In an email to the Saratoga Sun, Danny Burau, owner of Firewater, reflected on the difficult decision.

"We don't exactly know what the next steps will be. Within the industry as a whole, we had a strong summer, but with limited capacity, and now the more dramatic reduction in capacity with colder weather, we won't be able to sustain a full operation through the winter," wrote Burau. "We employ 27 dedicated team members that put in a huge amount of work in preparing our food and our ingredients from scratch, then delivering that food and experience to our guests. The current state of business simply doesn't allow us to keep our doors open and deliver that quality."

Burau added that, prior to the pandemic, Firewater had budgeted for a five to 10 percent increase in revenue over 2019. Due to the public health orders and restrictions put in place by Governor Mark Gordon beginning in March and a reduction on available seating, Burau said that his restaurant had seen a reduction in revenue of approximately 25 percent between Memorial Day and Labor Day. According to Burau, that decrease in revenue did not allow for him and his staff to properly prepare for the winter months.

"Our team will be experimenting with various options to stay active and involved. We are open to booking private events in our dining room through the holidays," wrote Burau. "We will look into catering jobs. The food truck, which has been sitting unused this summer, might provide a new avenue for Firewater to bring food to our guests."

Traditions that Firewater began after opening will still be attempted, according to Burau. This includes the delivery of donated Thanksgiving meals and the potential of opening the dining room for Firewater's annual New Year's Eve dinner.

"We want to still be of value to our extremely supportive locals. When we set out to create Firewater, we wanted to be able to run year-round, seven days a week," Burau wrote. "2020 has certainly affected our ability to do so, and we must explore some new solutions."

Burau added that, while the decision to close the dining room at Firewater was a difficult one, the intent was to allow the restaurant to be able to resume business in 2021.

"Make no mistake; we are here to stay, and we will find a way forward. We are making this difficult decision so that we can guarantee that outcome. In the meantime, don't hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns," wrote Burau. "This is a learning process for so many, and I am happy to share my experiences or help the community in any way we can as we go forward."


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