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Little Current restaurant manager and ‘unsung hero’ featured on Jones Soda bottles

Cody Crawford said he’d work hard no matter what, but it’s neat to get recognition

If you’re a fan of Jones Soda, keep your eye out for the Green Apple Soda flavour. Cody Crawford, a restaurant manager from Little Current is being featured on Green Apple Soda bottles along with seven other “unsung heroes.”

The unsung heroes collection features photographs of various people or groups who took extraordinary steps to help others during a difficult year. 

Examples include a small California restaurant that provided hundreds of meals to the 2020 Glass Fire evacuees and first responders, a firefighter at the Skyxe Saskatoon International Airport, and a nonprofit organization that has delivered 55-gallon barrels of clean, potable drinking water to remote areas of the Navajo Nation since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

The series is appearing on Jones Green Apple Soda bottles in both the U.S. and Canada with a total print run of 500,000. All eight honorees, including Crawford, are profiled on Jones Soda’s website

Cody was nominated to appear on the soda bottles by his wife, Taylor, the co-manager of Elliott’s Restaurant, a family-style eatery in Little Current, on Manitoulin Island.

The following is the description of Cody provided on the Jones Soda website:

“In early 2020, both Cody and Taylor were working as chefs. When the pandemic hit, she was laid off and Cody took on 15- to 17-hour work days in a hot kitchen to help provide for both her and their daughter. Then, Taylor became pregnant with their second child. Cody didn't hesitate to continue his workload. His sacrifice and determination has allowed his family to stay safe and healthy at home.”

“They had a description of what an unsung hero was and who they were looking for,” Taylor told Sudbury.com. “Basically the description reminded me of Cody. Just people who were your average, everyday person, but are still working throughout the pandemic to keep things running.”

Taylor explains that she had a baby in November, so Cody is currently managing the restaurant with help from a skeleton staff, filling takeout orders during the lockdown, and then coming home to help with the baby and their three-year-old.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Cody, adding he does like Jones Soda, although he’s only ever tried the cream soda flavour before. “I did believe I was working hard, and I’ll keep working hard no matter what. 

“It was pretty neat to see it and get the recognition, right? It’s not just for me, it’s for every restaurant person out there that’s working hard during this period of time when everything seems so uncertain for most restaurants, to be there day in and day out.” 

The restaurant industry has been something of a rollercoaster since last March, when the pandemic hit. Most of Elliott’s staff was laid off at that time because then, like now, it was closed to in-person dining. 

But this summer, when many restrictions were lifted, and Little Current became popular because Ontarians were looking for somewhere close to home to visit, Elliott’s was actually busier than usual. 

During the most recent lockdown, it’s back to working with a skeleton staff, with Cody doing everything from cooking to washing dishes.

“I’m grateful that the owners (Jason and Jodie Elliott) have given me the opportunity to stay working,” Cody said, adding the locals have been good about ordering takeout.

In case you’d like to pay the restaurant a visit next time you’re in Little Current, it’s located at 28 Vankoughnet St., right off of Highway 6.

Cody said the restaurant mostly serves family favourites such as an all-day breakfast, burgers and sandwiches, but it does have one signature dish: a beef/pork patty, hawberry jelly, peanut butter, bacon, mozzarella and jalapeños.

“It's such a fun blend of flavours, and it works well,” he said.