MONUMENT, CO — A man in Monument is serving up an idea to help local restaurants serve more customers.
He's inviting people who have an RV, a car, or truck to create their own outdoor dining in downtown Monument. It's a way for the community to support local businesses, but still be safe.
Ryan Pendleton lives in Monument and said he came up with the idea after indoor dining closed for the second time recently.
"My wife said, 'that would be so fun to go out and have a date, even in COVID where you can still distance,"' said Pendleton. "So we thought, how can we maintain that strong community?'"
Pendleton saw on the news, RV dining was happening overseas, and he wanted to bring the idea to Monument.
Every Wednesday, he and a group of people plan to drive their RV's downtown, pull the chairs and tables out, get the fire pit going, hang the Christmas lights up, and eat a meal from a nearby restaurant.
It'll support nearby businesses like Arlene's Beans & Salsa. Bobby Padilla owns the restaurant alongside his wife. The two opened the business exactly four years ago today.
"This is the toughest year that we've hands down ever experienced," said Padilla. "We're just trying to keep our head above water. We know that we have to scratch and scrape for everything we have this year."
Despite the challenging year, Padilla says he's optimistic about serving more customers thanks to the effort.
"It'll bring people here, and maybe they've never heard of us, or heard of some of the shops that are here, and maybe they'll walk around," said Padilla.
While Pendleton knows there's only so much businesses can do to survive, he and others also know the town has been nothing but resilient.
"We've seen the way that the community supports us and the way businesses support us, and so we wanted to be able to return that to businesses as residents," said Pendleton.
"It doesn't surprise me living here that the community would lock shields and march forward together to help businesses," said Padilla.
RV dining in Monument is happening every Wednesday from 5-9 p.m. until dining rooms reopen. Pendleton hopes to begin RV dining in Palmer Lake soon.
Monetary donations are also collected at the event, and will go toward local organizations like Tri-Lakes Cares.