In Johnson City, the coronavirus has forced food businesses to adapt much like the rest of the country. However, one thing that has never changed about JC Bar & Grill is its sense of community. Located on 320 Grand Ave. in Johnson City, JC Bar & Grill, currently changing its name to The Bosses, had a pig roast event on Sunday, Aug. 30. The restaurant has hosted events similar to the pig roast before the coronavirus pandemic, which forced them to close back in March. After reopening in June, JC Bar & Grill now aims to pick things back up again.
There was spaced seating to accommodate COVID-19 guidelines, consisting of a large outdoor seating area and spaced-out indoor seating — there were regular picnic tables as well as higher tables for groups of two to sit outside. A $12 dinner was offered for the event containing beans, potatoes, coleslaw and a dinner pork roll. Inside the bar, customers could enjoy the pool table, televisions above the bar and an electronic jukebox.
Josh Orzel, 49, and Matt Conover, 52, of Johnson City, explained the process that brought the pig to the grill.
“We got it on a farm in Lisle, and they’re all farm-raised and they are stamped by the USDA,” Orzel said. “They go up there and inspect them.”
Orzel and Conover brought the pig back, spiced it and roasted it for seven hours. They cut the pieces out with carving tools and sent the meat to the kitchen to prepare the dinners.
The bar and grill has a significant number of regulars that come all the time. Frank Sedlacek, 63, owner of the building, of Johnson City, emphasized the community aspect of the bar.
“It’s a good little neighborhood bar,” he said. “We got a lot of the neighborhood that walks in.”
Sedlacek’s daughter, Jessica, 30, took over the restaurant from her father in November 2019. She, much like her father, embraced the pig roast bringing the community together.
“Usually if an unfamiliar face walks through the door, we know it right away,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many daily events and operations uncertain. Sedlacek was forced to put everything on pause when the virus first hit.
“I wanted to do all this stuff, but [COVID-19] hit and I didn’t want to put money into it not knowing what’s gonna happen, if I was going to be shut down for good or what,” Sedlacek said.
Despite the hardships, Sedlacek believed this roast demonstrated the resilience and unity of the community.