MIAMI — Area restaurants are reopening their dining rooms to full service, albeit with strict coronavirus guidelines, as the area continues trying to return to some semblance of normal.
We contacted several to find out just how the process is going and it seems most customers are happy to be making the transition back, while seniors seem to be heeding the advice to continue to shelter at home.
Zack’s Café in Miami reopened its dining room on May 1 for regular hours seven days a week, according to owner Lacey Perry, who said, “We had to take some tables out to meet social distancing requirements. And we do have outside dining that is also 6 feet apart. All table caddies have been removed from the tables to ensure they are kept clean, and all tables and chairs are being bleached and allowed to dry before seating the next customers.
“Of course we can’t seat as many as before, and people who are waiting on a table are asked to wait in their cars, but we are staying busy. I think people are ready to get back to normal. A few weren’t happy that we can’t seat more right now, but most are understanding. It’s a learning curve.”
The dining room is also back open at Montana Mike’s in Miami.
General Manager Jessika Highton said, “We are really excited to be re-opened for dining; we really missed our guests. Our number one priority remains the safety and well-being of our guests and team members and, while the dining room was closed, our team underwent additional training to ensure proper social distancing and sanitation practices are met and upheld.
“We completely sanitized and disinfected our kitchen, dining room, back room, and bar area and re-opened May 1. We will still do carryout orders and curbside delivery, and we are seating at every other table in the dining room so nobody has to eat within six feet of other guests.”
The dining room at Nowhere on Route 66 in Afton reopened its dining room earlier in the month, according to owner Sandra Reynolds.
“We put extra chairs and tables on the patio because it’s a really popular option,” she said.
Nowhere offered only curbside carryout for about five weeks and did really well, according to Reynolds.
“Everybody that has come in has been very understanding,” she said. “They do appreciate the extra precautions we take and they are just glad to get out of the house. It’s been nice to have the dining room back open, although there is a lot of extra cleaning we have to do to keep everybody safe; I enjoy seeing all my regulars that are starting to come back in.”
Reynolds said she is just glad to still be here after 7 1/2 years.
“We continue to grow and make improvements all the time,” she said. “A lot of people made sure to come when we were doing just carryout to help us make it through, even from Vinita and Grove. We had a lot of supportive people being super nice and tipping very generously to help those having a rough time. There are a lot of caring people out there.
“We tried to return the favor by doing things like free lunches for seniors in Afton and we offered several surrounding towns half off their meals,” Reynolds said.
Matt Hopper, the cook/chef at The Café in Fairland, said they reopened their dining room May 2.
“The weekends have been really busy, but the weekdays are a little slower than normal,” Hopper said. “Regulars are coming back, although some of the seniors haven’t come back in yet for safety reasons. Everyone on staff was ready to get back to something like normal. I asked the girls Saturday how the social distancing was going and they said, ‘Not very good because everybody keeps coming up and hugging us,’” Hopper said with a laugh. “That was the quote of the week.”