KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The brisket at Kelvin & Co. Urban BBQ on West Main Street is their top seller, said owner Mark Nieuwenhuis.
This week was their three-year anniversary, he said.
Their barbecue is so good they’ve won Ribfest the last few years in a row, he added.
Tuesday midday, Nieuwenhuis delivered some of their award-winning barbecue to the doctors, nurses and other emergency workers at Bronson Hospital, free of charge.
“We’re just trying to help out,” Nieuwenhuis said during an interview with FOX 17. “We know that everyone’s stressed out. There’s a lot going on, a lot of people working a lot of hours, trying to take care of the community. So, we decided to help people ourselves.”
Around 12 p.m., Nieuwenhuis drove to the emergency care entrance and dropped off three large aluminum table pans of brisket meatloaf. A few nurses met him at the entrance, wearing face masks and gloves, to say ‘thank you.’
Nieuwenhuis said he was happy to do it, even though Kelvin & Co. has been feeling the pinch of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently ordered all restaurants in the state to close their dining areas and only serve their customers via curbside pick up or take-out.
“We’ve already had to close one of our stores because of this,” Nieuwenhuis said. “But it feels great to help out.”
Nieuwenhuis said when he made the announcement yesterday that they’re going to be delivering free hot meals to the hospitals in the area, people responded well. However, people also asked about serving other workers in the emergency services industry.
“People are like ‘what about the ICU? Critical care? All that stuff?’” He said. “We didn’t even think about that. We were just starting where we could, where we thought everything was happening.”
So, Nieuwenhuis and others at Kelvin & Co. got some advice and decided to create a GoFundMe account, asking their fans to donate to it so they can feed as many emergency service workers as possible during the next few weeks.
“I think it’s going to be a long three weeks for everybody, the restaurant industry and everybody else as well,” Nieuwenhuis said. “Hopefully it gets better so we can get re-opened within the three weeks or hopefully before it.”