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They opened their dream business as the pandemic began. They closed it three days later.

How a Maine restaurant adapted and managed to stay afloat

PORTLAND, Maine — We’ve all suffered losses during the pandemic, but it goes without saying that some of those losses—of lives, of jobs, of entire businesses--have been far more grievous than others.

Jake and Raquel Stevens are by no means complaining about where they find themselves after the trials of the past year. Their health is good and they’re keeping their heads above water. Yet there’s no question: The fates gave them a raw deal.

On March 13, 2020, they opened their first restaurant, Leeward, in downtown Portland. They’d decorated the space, designed the menu, were eager to serve their own handmade pasta. The dream they’d been working on for about a year and a half had finally been realized.

That same day, the first case of Covid was diagnosed in Maine and the stock market suffered one of its worst declines in decades. Leeward closed its dining room on March 15. “We had,” Raquel says, “three days of service.”

One year later, Leeward is hanging on, a different kind of restaurant but one that’s still in business. How did Jake and Raquel keep going? And what lessons have they learned? Watch our video to learn more—and to see a story of survival.