An Adel restaurant owner along with those from across Iowa’s Third Congressional District met virtually with U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (D) Thursday to share how they’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Axne started off the meeting by acknowledging that no two restaurants have likely been impacted the same, but she hoped to find some commonalities to use when drafting legislation in Congress. “We’ve got a lot that we need to be doing for our restaurants, for our service industry in general, to ensure that you guys all stay afloat. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the services that you’re already providing for the people here in our state. I know so many people are using our restaurants as one of the bright spots in their days, and I know that it’s one of the bright spots that we have in making sure that Iowans are fed, as well as have some sort of feel that things are somewhat normal.”

Among the restaurateurs in attendance for the meeting was Al Laudencia, owner of Big Al’s BBQ in Adel and Des Moines. He pointed out that his two locations have been affected in completely different ways, with the Adel spot thriving over the last few months and the Des Moines location all but closed due to a lack of business. Laudencia and the other participants raised several concerns, including: meat supply and rising prices; the increased use and cost of to-go containers; and the negative impact of a lack of tourism and local events. Axne appreciated the restaurant owners’ time and input, and promised to do what she could to address their concerns.