JEFFERSON — While many restaurants were shut down the past couple of months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one Jefferson restaurant found a way to keep its employees working and is now helping its community members.

McGarity’s Restaurant and Saloon No. 61 in downtown Jefferson, a historic saloon turned into a restaurant and upstairs bed and breakfast, kept its employees working during the COVID-19 shut down by renovating and updating the restaurant.

“We were able to keep employees working by updating the restaurant while we were shut down,” McGarity’s Manager Stormie Braccock said on Saturday. “We kept the crew on and sanded the bar down. We completely stripped the floors down and they look brand new now. We also started a garden back behind the building.”

The first floor of the historic building, located at 208 West Dallas Street, is a restaurant and bar, while the upstairs is a bed and breakfast. Both the restaurant and the bed and breakfast are now open.

“We have a new executive chef, Chef Ciara Gillard and her chicken and waffles are amazing,” Braddock said. “She also makes a beef wellington and breaded avocado slices that are phenomenal.”

The restaurant is also doing its part to help give back to the community that has supported it in the past.

“We have bulk staple supplies for free, including sugar, rice, beans and flour,” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page. “These are all fresh items we just received on our food truck. We ordered this extra just for anyone in need.”

The restaurant, owned by Ken Jones, has also kept up its policy of feeding children for free.

“We also are offering free meals to all children under 12 years old. No purchase for adult meals or anything is necessary and the free children’s meals are also available to dine in or to go,” Braddock said.

The restaurant is also offering free meals to healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 patients under $20.

“Anyone with COVID-19 or who has recovered from COVID-19 in Marion county also eats free, up to $20,” the restaurant posted on Facebook. “Anyone suffering or hungry that doesn’t have the money eats free, no questions asked.”

The restaurant is also open today for Mother’s Day and offers brunch on Saturday and Sundays. The restaurant is open seven days a week.

For a full list of times, or to make an online reservation, visit https://www.mcgarityssaloon61.com/ or visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/McgaritysSaloon/ or call and make a reservation at 903-601-4407.