'Karaoke ain't coming back anytime soon.' One-on-one with The Jasper's Brandon Peck


Welcome to Unlisted!

This is the second episode ever and hello and hi to the new subscribers. I’m thankful for everyone for joining me on this journey.

Last week, I spoke with Ben Isgur and talked to him about telehealth. You can check that out here.

I’ve also been working with Healthify to produce some blogs and a white paper on social determinants of health. The first blog went live last week. It’s a recap on a webinar on how COVID-19 will affect SDoH strategy. That can be found here.

If you have a white paper, blog, content strategy, or research work and need help, get in touch at jeff@magnetcoilmedia.com

Truth be told, this newsletter is more of a way to learn how to start a podcast (I’m learning to ask more direct questions, for example). Based on the stats, about a fifth of you checking out the email downloaded the podcast. I’m trying to make the written newsletter a separate value add-to to the interviews. But I’m sure this will evolve as we move along.

Do you want more text? Less text? Let me know.

This one is a bit of a Richmond-centric number. I originally wanted to write about how a restaurant’s decision to open in Phase One is an inherently political statement.

I mean, check this chart out from Axios:

But, the conversation just didn’t go that way so on today’s agenda is social isolation, community, and the spaces that bars and restaurants provide.

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On today’s show, we have The Jasper’s Brandon Peck (the interview was conducted on May 13). One of my goals with this product — besides promoting my business and sharing ideas/stats I come across — is to better bring together the conversation how culture influences health and vice versa.

Within the healthcare industry, messaging and narratives tend to be buttoned up. You can continuously be bludgeoned with the same buzzwords in varying sentence structures as you move from conference presentation to presentation.

But as we know, healthcare is so much more.

Brandon bartends in the Carytown shopping district of Richmond, VA. We talked about service industry regulars and unemployment in the industry and how that can influence behavior.

We did not talk about the first time I went to The Jasper. My friend Ryan was in town from Boston to attend an Action Patrol reunion. He had just learned he would be a father and may have been served too much. Ryan decided to go to his hotel wherein he slept through the entire show and got on a plane the next morning back to Boston. It was a beautiful failure where no one got hurt. Ryan, you can check out the set from the night before here.

That’s the bifurcated content I’m trying to give to my readers.

If you’re not familiar, Richmond as of February 2020 had a vibrant restaurant and brewery scene.

Last September, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the growth rate of RVA restaurants has doubled the pace of population growth (9.6% v. ~4% from 2015 to 2019). There’s more than 2,000 full-service and fast-food restaurants in metro area. Bon Appetit profiled the city’s restaurant scene about a year ago and Zagat named it one of the 30 exciting food American cities in 2017.

Adding to the RVA restaurant literary canon is this hysterically accurate profile of Nate’s Bagels, the best and most elusive bagel shop in Fist City.

I moved back to my hometown of Richmond, VA last November after spending a year and a half in Nashville. Ultimately, I don’t recommend moving to a new city at 36.

I made some friends there but I spent a lot of time to myself. Almost too much for my personality and temperament. Craving casual conversations, I would wander and at times walk to Hops and Crafts, a small beer bar located in The Gulch for the singular purpose of being around people but not too many people, ya know.

Looking back, I was definitely feeling the effects of social isolation. There’s already a lot of literature on the social determinants of health but COVID-19 is shining a big spotlight on the effects of social isolation.

Americans were already in the midst of a “loneliness epidemic” even before COVID-19. And the lack of social connectivity is increasingly being linked to people’s physical health. For example, social isolation or poor social relationships, according to a recent 317-page meta-analysis of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, dementia, depression, anxiety, self-reported chronic diseases, and more.

So yea, I left Nashville. For my health.

The coronavirus pandemic is only accelerating the social disconnection for some. Human beings are social creatures and, given the associated links of physical health and social connectivity, it’s understandable why many are feeling anxious to get outside and around people when you’re being encouraged to stay home. Talking to yourself can get old pretty fast.

Bars and restaurants provide that space for many social and friend groups as well as communal connective tissue for those who may not be fortunate enough to have close friends.

Now, those spaces — at least as we knew them — are gone. And it’s unclear how many will return. One RTD headline reads “‘We could very well lose our restaurant in two months’ — Richmond restaurants say they could crumble without more leadership from city”.

The CDC recently released interim guidance on three phases for reopening including restaurants. Headlines have characterized this “low key” release to be “quietly” announced after being “scaled back.”

It isn’t until Step 2 where guidance says: “Bars may open with limited capacity; restaurants may open dining rooms with limited seating capacity that allows for social distancing.”

At the time of this writing on May 25, the city of Richmond is set to begin Phase One on May 29. It’s unclear if and when it will be safe to meet up in communal spaces again and I don’t pretend to have any answers. But I do think it’s important to remember that restaurants and bars and other gathering spaces help provide a sense of belonging for community members.

What I can suggest and offer is if there’s someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with, give them a call.

Stay safe and hope you’re healthy.

Thanks for reading Unlisted. If you enjoyed this interview or newsletter, please share it with a friend.

Today’s playlist is curated by Brandon Peck.