Mazomanie restaurant uses quilts as social distance barriers

In The Old Feed Mill dining room, customers are separated by hand-made quilts.
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 4:36 PM CDT
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MAZOMANIE, Wis. (WMTV) - Around the dining room in The Old Feed Mill, you’ll find COVID-19 safety measures in place like hand sanitizer and face masks.

When owner Nancy Viste began planning to reopen after Memorial Day, she says she wanted to do something different to help with social distancing.

“I thought we really have to rearrange and change everything,” said Viste. “I’m not hanging up shower curtains or putting Plexiglas on so I said ‘boy, why not quilts?’”

Many on The Old Feed Mill staff are quilters and brought in their own pieces to hang up. Samantha Atkinson says she loved the idea of using quilts for the dual purpose of artwork and safety.

“It just kind of adds to the whole ambiance of a beautiful place already,” said Atkinson. “It’s just a little more intimate for people and private.”

A beautifully creative way to help customers socially distance: hand-made quilts! How The Old Feed Mill in Mazomanie is putting a unique twist on COVID-19 safety measures tonight at 6 on NBC15 Madison. #NBC15

Posted by Gabriella Rusk NBC15 on Friday, July 17, 2020

Viste says her staff, like Atkinson, enjoy sharing the stories of the different quilts with customers who dine in.

“It’s been really nice having the quilters themselves wait on them and tell the story of all the quilts,” Viste said. “I think more or less is what’s in these quilts is more heart and love.”

Atkinson says when she makes quilts she finds a sense of comfort in weaving a story.

“They all have a part of you when you’re done,” Atkinson said. “Whether it’s a time in your life or whether it’s something that’s happening right now for instance. We’ll remember this for years to come.”

Viste says like the comfort food served, she wants her guests to feel welcomed and safe in her business.

“[The quilts] surround them with love and comfort and I think that’s something everyone needs right now,” said Viste.

The Old Feed Mill is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday for brunch.

To view the menu and hours, click HERE.

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