Innovation keeps the economy moving: Bad timing proves good for Corsicana restaurant

Posted at 1:36 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 20:43:04-04

CORSICANA, TX — While the coronavirus hit businesses and especially restaurants hard, with many closing, one Central Texas restauranteur actually saw a benefit.

In Corsicana, one woman's determination made her business a success. Susan Hale opened her restaurant the "Butcher Block" Just as coronavirus hit Texas.

Even she admits the idea sounds crazy. She comes from a family known for its eateries in Corsicana, but feared the virus would sink her new venture before she could even float.

Opening a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic DOES seem a little crazy and Susan didn't do so well at first. That’s when she began tinkering with her menu, tailoring it to the tastes of her customers.

That's when she started to rebound and succeed. Then, she realized, opening a business during a time of upheaval actually gave her an advantage.

"It's been a benefit in terms of, it allowed us to try out a bunch of different ideas," said Hale. What kind of ideas? For one, Hale could make instant course changes based on customers' needs instead of being tied to traditional menu items like other restaurants.

Through trial and error, she learned what people needed and changed course to fill the need. "...and to kind of test the market on what kind of recipes would work, so we could slowly build-up," Hale explained.

How? With ready to eat meals, some of which just need heating up before serving. it's helped Corsicana at a time when other regions of Texas still struggle.

”So for a variety of reasons these areas. Enjoy some diversity and as a result of that, some, some opportunities to to certainly not be back to where they were before the pandemic but nonetheless have a recovery that that is quite integral enviable compared to a lot of other areas,” said Dr. Ray Perryman, Economist, President & CEO The Perryman Group Hale also offers specialty meats of all sorts, in addition to gourmet cheeses and the only gelato in that part of Texas.

Right now, the Butcher Block specializes in what they call "grab and go" meals, meaning you can plan a big dinner and never have to cook. Just choose your main course and side dishes from Hale's menu of already prepared items.

She plans to open the dining room and transition to more traditional sit-down meals, but she says the "grab-and-go" items will remain available for folks in a hurry.