BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) — The local contractor who originally used a shovel to pick up his food at Marion’s Piazza to socially distance when the pandemic began is at it again.
Funny-man Cris Maggert has gone to new lengths to eat at the Buckhorn Tavern, another one of his favorite spots where he’s been a loyal customer for years.
“Cris was pretty quiet in the beginning. He was pretty shy. He would just straight order, and not hardly talk to anybody,” recalls LouAnn Over, the Assistant Manager at Buckhorn Tavern.
His bashfulness didn’t last long.
“And now he’s a kook,” laughs LouAnn.
Cris has been eating at the Buckhorn Tavern since 2004. As the pandemic has gotten longer, so have his tools to keep socially distant.
“When he was getting carryout when we were shut down, he was still using stuff like that,” states Catherine Weibel, a bartender.
“They didn’t know what I was going to pull or what was going to happen next,” says Cris.
Cris upped his game and distance, trading in his 6-foot shovel for an 8-foot 1×3 board to pick up his meals.
“The shovel was 6-foot. This is 8-foot,” details Cris.
The 1×3 is complete with a money clip on the end, as well as a notch where restaurant workers can hang his carryout order without ever coming close to him.
“The girls just give me a hard time,” says Cris.
“I think he’s gotten worse since COVID. I think we can all agree on that,” laughs LouAnn.
Three to four times a week, Cris eats at the Buckhorn, and he doesn’t eat alone. He brings along a cardboard cutout of John Wayne and a bust of Elvis.
“I knew those girls would laugh if I brought out my Elvis,” laughs Cris. “I enjoy it. It’s just fun to laugh.”
Even though the restaurant is open for dining, he sometimes will have a picnic in the parking lot with the two legends.
“Got to make your own fun, make your own happiness. Can’t depend on someone else to do it for you,” smiles Cris.
“He makes us smile. He comes in with a sense of humor and gives us a reason to be out here during COVID when there isn’t much business,” says Laura Lanasa who’s a bartender.
“That’s the reason we come to work everyday is people like him,” says Catherine.
“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” says Cris.
And Cris has found a way to enjoy his meals.