Dear Zanesville Community,
I’m writing to tell you that The Bridge is closing at the end of this month. Our last day of operations will be August 25, 2017.
Thank you so much for supporting our business and mission over the past year. We’re so unbelievably blessed by all of the friends we’ve made. The customers, the farmers and the staff—there is so much love in this community, and we will be forever touched by that.
When we purchased The Bridge on September 1, 2016, our ambition was to find new ways to share the love of Jesus with our community. Over the past year, we’ve done our best to love our customers by feeding them delicious, healthy food. We’ve loved our neighbors in Putnam by providing a healthy local restaurant and by supporting revitalization projects in the neighborhood. And we’ve supported local farmers by sourcing more than 50% of the ingredients our restaurant uses from within 50 miles of Zanesville.
Most importantly to us, we’ve loved our employees. We’ve done our best to create a respectful, supportive work environment, and to empower our staff. We’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with reformed felons, homeless persons, single working parents, and individuals in addiction recovery. While sometimes that has resulted in spectacular failures, drama and disappointment, on the whole we have been amazingly blessed to see marginalized individuals seize hold of the trust we’re willing to give them and to make tremendous improvements in their personal and professional lives.
It makes us sad to lose these opportunities to love others, and to discontinue refining and improving our methods. But while we are only human and have surely failed and made mistakes, we are proud of the way we have loved our community, and proud of the way we have conducted ourselves.
There are a hundred variables that effect a restaurant like ours, and there are many reasons why we are closing. As Christians, we walk a fine line, in tension between living as a pure example of Jesus for our employees, customers and suppliers, and utilizing methods that are practical and reasonable for a real business which needs to keep its doors open. It’s the same tension that every Christian on the planet faces every day, just on a larger scale and with a special intentionality. Ultimately, we didn’t find the perfect middle path, and we’ve slowly bled money investing in our employees, investing in our neighborhood, and investing in local farmers.
A group of Christians collectively invested about $50,000 for the operations of the restaurant over the past year. While closing our doors isn’t the outcome that any of us hoped for, we are proud of the things we have invested in, and the results that we have achieved. In terms of real lives changed, dollar for dollar we’d put our results up against the effectiveness of any conventional charity or non-profit.
There are practical reasons for our closing as well. While we chose the location for our restaurant intentionally to serve a lower-income community, the seemingly permanent closure of Muskingum Ave./Dug Rd. was unexpected and has had a significant impact on our revenues.
And, as with any business, there are always things that with perfect hindsight we could have done differently which would have been more effective.
We are surely disappointed to close The Bridge. It breaks our heart to have cared so much, to have worked so hard, and to now be done. We ask for your grace and empathy as we make this transition.
We will continue our normal hours and service through the day on August 25, and look forward to feeding you amazing, locally sourced food until then. And we invite you to purchase a ticket and join us on the evening of Friday, August 25th for a special farm-to-table dinner featuring steaks from McNutt Farm II in Blue Rock.
Your friendship means the world to us. And we look forward to the next adventure that God has for us. We will continue to serve this community, and to find practical ways to bring the love of Jesus to our neighbors.
In Christ we serve.
-Brad and Melissa Pauquette