COPING WITH COVID: McNulty's Tap Room.

In the year and a half his restaurant has been a part of the Blythewood business community, Trippy Phillips has done his part to contribute.

McNulty's Tap Room has been serving up cold beer and hearty fare since November 2018 while also sponsoring Little League teams and other local pursuits. Now, with his sit-down dining business shuttered because of the COVID-19 crisis, Phillips is finding another way to help out.

McNulty's is feeding the front-line staffs at area hospitals. On Wednesday, Phillips' team fed around 200 people at Providence Hospital's Northeast and downtown locations, and on Thursday, around 100 medical professional dined on pans of lasagna at Lexington Medical Center.

The idea came to Phillips as he was brainstorming how to meet Small Business Administration loan requirements that require a certain amount of funds to go toward payroll expenses. With his staff slashed to a cook and a curbside food deliverer for to-go orders, Phillips needed ways to be able to pay more employees.

"I thought, I'll put out something on Facebook, just see if we can get a few donations and feed the hospitals or something," Phillips said. "It took about five minutes. I got probably five or six phone calls, people wanting to donate, (asking), 'Can I bring a check by? Can you take a credit card?' "

Phillips and his wife Julie posted an initial donation request around 6 p.m. April 4.

"When we went to bed, it was at $1,000," Phillips said. "I think it just cleared $4,000."

Phillips said that's enough for around three weeks of supplies, which he's ordering as he goes. While he intends to keep the rotation of hospitals the same he plans to feed workers at Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Friday the menu will vary, based on what he can get the most of for the lowest price from suppliers.

"It's actually cheaper than it normally is, because a lot of stuff is not being used," Phillips said...

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