North County Bar & Restaurant Owner Donates To-Go Order Sales to Employees

Rookies Restaurant and Sports Bar owner donates 100% of to-go proceeds to employees after San Diego County Health Officer orders bars to close and restaurants to offer to-go orders only.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Bars have been ordered to close. Restaurant owners can only offer to-go and delivery orders. The new mandates come as an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

At a time when many in the hospitality industry are losing their jobs, a North County bar owner is making it her mission to provide employees with paychecks.

“I’ve been at Rookies for 15 years,” said Kristin Cates, the owner of Rookies Restaurant and Sports Bar in Oceanside.

Cates started working at Rookies as a bartender before gaining ownership. She calls Rookies, "home."

“I met my husband here. Some of the bartenders were at my wedding,” said Cates.

When San Diego County’s Health Officer ordered bars to close and restaurants to stop dine-in serving, Cates said it hit her personally.  

“[There was] a lot of nervousness, a lot of tears, a lot of what-ifs. But when you can’t control anything, you sit back and do the best that you can do,” Cates said.

Cates chose to donate 100% of to-go sales to her employees.

 “[I’ll] either write a check, [give] some cash, whatever it happens to be,” Cates said. She said she plans to divide the proceeds between all 40 Rookies’ employees.  

“Oh, I started crying, a lot of us did,” said Monika Richards, a server at Rookies. She tells NBC 7, at a time that can feel uncertain, this act of kindness brings her hope.

“It’s really heartwarming and really touching. [I give] many, many thanks to her (Kristen), [for] just being that thoughtful kind person that we knew she was,” said Richards.

“They’re the ones who keep my doors open, so I owe it to them. It’s really not a question to me,” said Cates.

Rookies will be open Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22 from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. for to-go and delivery orders. If you spend $100 or more, you get a free six-pack of Corona beer.

Contact Us