With the coronavirus shutting down events and gatherings all around us, the food and beverage world looms as one of the most vulnerable industries. In Dallas alone, restaurants and bars employ more than 500,000 people, many of whom rely on tips or work part-time.
According to Greater Dallas Restaurant Association spokesperson Randall White, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is anticipated to mandate that all restaurant and bar rooms close in Dallas County on March 16. Curbside, drive-thru, and delivery will be allowed for those businesses that offer food. This would seem to rule out bars.
"The Texas Restaurant Association talked with him about our expertise in cleaning, the economic impact, the concessions other cities are making, people losing their jobs and potentially closing their businesses, all of our talking points ... but to no avail," White says. "Judge Jenkins said that the panel of medical experts and counterparts in other cities have convinced him this is the right thing to do."
Dallas City Council is also set to discuss this item at its March 18 agenda hearing.
Some other states and cities have already enacted closures or limitations in service. Illinois and Ohio ordered all bars and restaurants to close, while California shut down bars, pubs, and wineries; restaurants can remain open but are required to reduce their capacities and guarantee social distancing. Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Boston, and New Jersey have also enacted restrictions on bars and restaurants.
A statement from Emily Williams Knight, President & CEO Texas Restaurant Association, says that the organization is hoping to work with the state and local governments to allow restaurants to stay open to provide drive-thru, take-out/pick-up, and delivery service.
"This will drive 'no contact' and ensure people have food to eat and in turn provide those employees income to support their own families," Knight's statement says. "More than 50 percent of food consumed by citizens of Texas come from restaurants. With grocery store shelves already bare, where would people go? There are more than 50,000 units in Texas, excellent places to ensure people who are now practicing social distancing can get food to eat."
Their statement points out that restaurants are already heavily regulated by their health departments and are voluntarily doing even more to keep people safe.
"With students out of school for 2+ weeks, where will they get their food? Many of these families cannot afford to stockpile groceries," Knight says.
Meanwhile, the following restaurants have already either enacted closures or made shifts in their operations:
AllGood Cafe in Deep Ellum has moved to a “to go” model in our restaurant for at least two weeks or more. "We are pausing the use of all seating, including both the café and patio areas," they say on a Facebook post. Customers can order to-go by calling 214-742-5342, or via delivery services such Uber-eats or Caviar. They will take your food to you at the curb or patio.
Avanti Restaurant in Uptown will offer larger format to-go items including marinara sauce by the quart, meatballs by the dozen, and family-style spinach lasagna serving 6 to 8.
Bendt Distilling in Lewisville is closing for the rest of the month. "For the safety of our community, staff and guests, we will be closing our cocktail bar, tours, and events for the remainder of March, effective immediately," their post says. Details on rescheduled events and tours are to come.
Brizo, the new bar in Richardson, is taking extra precautions on top of their daily procedures. That includes sanitizing all chairs, tables, and the bar area every hour, and/or after each guest leaves; and disinfecting all hand-contact surfaces (door handles, counters, faucets). Staffers are hand-washing diligently and have been instructed to stay home if they're feeling well.
Bullion has closed its dining room except for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, but will continue to pay its employees, whose duties will shift to helping community organizations. "Throughout the week, we started to see a reduction in all of our group business, people traveling in, large parties. We started to see a reduction in just cancellation of fear. And certainly, we weren’t growing reservations over the week per usual," VP Jason Cotton told NBC DFW. Bullion is already working with several local nonprofits to offer help.
Cocina Italiano near Dallas Love Field is ready to do take out via pick-up or via Grub Hub or Door Dash. For the next week, if you live in the immediate neighborhood around Love Field or Lakewood / Lower Greenville / M Street area, owner Abel Gonzales will do deliveries between 4-6pm. Call during normal business hours (10 am-4 pm 214-238-0392), place your order, and pay by credit card, and your meal will be delivered to your door. For large orders or pans of pasta or lasagna, order early.
Dream Cafe in Lakewood is offering curbside service for all to-go orders and many delivery services like Uber Eats are offering free delivery.
Fat Chicken in Rockwall is offering curbside pickup as well as normal delivery, Uber Eats Door Dash, and online at wwwww.fatchickendallas.com.
The GEM smoothie and juice bar has both locations open (Preston Center and Forest Lane), and has implemented a No Dine-In policy for added safety precautions. Order via APP, FAVOR or come in to grab and go.
Gold Rush Cafe. The East Dallas restaurant says that, due to concerns with the Covid 19 virus, the Gold Rush family has decided to operate on a to-go basis only. "This is on a week to week basis. Check our social media page for updates. We love our community and wan everyone to get through this safely. If you are in need of anything, we will do what we can to assist in any way we can. We love you all take care of each other."
Holy Grail Pub will be offering Valet Pick-up for food to go. You can call 972-377-6633 to place your order from their Lunch and Dinner Menu, pull up in the porte cochere next to the outdoor patio and they'l bring your order to your car. "While we can't sell any alcohol to go, at least our Gravy Fries, Ghost Pepper Chili or Shepherd's Pie will have to do." Valet pick up available from 11 am-9 pm. "Our lively staff are here to serve you inside our restaurant for as long as we are able to."
Houndstooth, the coffee shop at Sylvan Thirty, is not allowing any indoor seating. Some other coffee shops in town including Cultivar and Union, are using only to-go cups.
Knife Dallas will stay open at both locations in Dallas and Plano with extra precautions, but also offer pick up via phone order.
Lake House Bar & Grill is considering closing, which they announced via Facebook. "This pains me to say as the owner of the Lake House but due to the halt in people going out and supporting their local businesses, if business does not pick up in the next few days, we will not be open to feed the East Dallas community. Our sales in the last few days have dropped dramatically. I just wanted to thank everyone for all their support over the years. It has been my honor and pleasure to feed my favorite area in the DFW area. It was my dream to open the Lake House in the White Rock area and at least I got do what I loved for seven years."
Lockhart Smokehouse has added to-go at both its Dallas and Plano locations. You can call in and pick up at the bar.
Manhattan Brewing Co. has launched a to-go program wherein you can order their entire food and coffee menu online. They've also added a new option called "Family Dinner": a whole chicken, large fries, and large rice. It is takeout only, but they'll deliver it to your car if you prefer not to come inside. "Pull into the handicapped parking space closest to the building, and we will come out to you. When one of our beertenders greets you, you can also buy beer to-go. We have handheld payment devices to take payments from the parking lot." The taproom and production facility are business as usual. "We’re continuing to take all the precautions necessary to create a safe and sanitary environment for you and our team. And the beer-to-go fridge is PACKED!" they say.
Maru Ramen. The Richardson ramen restaurant is closing temporarily. "Due to the circumstances around the nation and the world, we feel it is best to close until the situation is under control," their Facebook post says. "We hope by doing this, we will do our part to eliminate any chances of potential spreading for any customers. We wish everyone a wonderful weekend & we will keep you tuned in for what is to come here at Maru Ramen in Richardson."
MoMo Italian Kitchen is dedicated to serve the community and will remain open at this time. For those avoiding public places, they are now offering curbside pickup. Call when you arrive and they will bring the food to you and process the payment at your car. The phone # to place orders and call for curbside delivery is 927-234-6800. They can also offer their beer and wine list at retail pricing. The website will be updated on Monday to reflect the retail pricing. They will continue to provide their entire menu, but if supplies dwindle they will reduce their offerings.
Oak Dallas. The Design District restaurant is closing temporarily. "Mayor Eric Johnson has declared a state of emergency in Dallas County," their post says. Considering the aforementioned and current developments, Oak restaurant will temporarily close until March 20. We are happy to take reservations or March 20 and beyond and wi continue to update our patrons with any changes in status. Stay tuned for more updates, please take care of yourself, your family, and those around you."
Sandwich Hag in Deep Ellum is taking extra hygiene steps that include mandatory hand sanitizer for customers placing orders on their iPad; Lysol in bathrooms; and checking the temperature of staffers before they begin work.
St. Pete's Dancin' Marlin in Deep Ellum has added takeout delivered to your car. Owner Pete Zotos says that you can call 214-698-1511 and place your order. You give them your credit card number, pull into their parking lot, call hem and they'll bring it out. "No fuss and of course distance," Zotos says.