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COVID-19 and Restaurants


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On 3/7/2020 at 10:14 PM, gnatharobed said:

Thanks for supporting A&J, Eric! Business is down for us and all other Chinese restaurants because of coronavirus.  

Thursday, nine-days ago, I was in Thai Square, and it was pretty empty.

I suspect it started with "Chinese," and quickly became (rightly or wrongly) "Asian." 

Last night was La Chaumière (available early, but quickly became full), before that was Rooster & Owl (full), Green Almond Pantry for lunch (pretty full), Thompson's Italian (fairly full), and Anju (quite full) - these, too, shall become less-and-less crowded in the near future, although a couple of these will be among the last to thin out.

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It's bad out there.  I don't know what the solution is. We are trying to do take out/delivery a few nights a week.  But I also don't want to drive a really far way to do pick up either just for a week

I am hoping that one positive item will come out of all of this:  we need mandatory sick leave for food workers.  Industries that place workers at risk of losing their jobs for being sick should be no

Clarity has been offering 3 course take away dinners for $35.  Quite a bargain for what you get.  Check the website daily for what is on offer.  They tell us that all staff has been kept employed.  Wh

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On 3/7/2020 at 10:35 PM, DonRocks said:

Thursday, nine-days ago, I was in Thai Square, and it was pretty empty.

I suspect it started with "Chinese," and quickly became (rightly or wrongly) "Asian." 

Last night was La Chaumière (available early, but quickly became full), before that was Rooster & Owl (full), Green Almond Pantry for lunch (pretty full), Thompson's Italian (fairly full), and Anju (quite full) - these, too, shall become less-and-less crowded in the near future, although a couple of these will be among the last to thin out.

Thamee was very crowded tonight; District Dumplings was pretty empty last night (not unusual at the hour), and the cashier told me that people were being "paranoid" (her term) about COVID-19.

Feel free to use this thread to report on how relatively crowded restaurants (Chinese, Asian, or otherwise) are right now - it should be historically useful.

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I'll say the lack of attendance at the Convention Center is hurting Chinese restaurants considering "Chinatown" is steps away.  Sorry, I need to put that in quotes for the DC version.  I was at the Travel Show on Sunday and it was pretty empty.  You never had to wait to talk to any of the booths.  At Rudy Maxa's talk there were about 50 people with seating for hundreds.  Good talk though.  The convention center workers were setting up for Satellite 2020 which started on Monday.  My old colleague told me Satellite 2020 was "virtually empty."  😟

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Yesterday ordered some Sichuan chicken from our local Chinese place and it was clear they were very appreciative. Unfortunately, when I was there there only had one table, normally they would have at least five or six.

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I had to get a flat fixed so I needed to eat out. ChiMc in Annandale. Wings half an half. I don't think I needed to finish the whole thing, especially after fried tofu and broccoli appetizer, which was quite tasty. A mug of Sapporo on tap. The car was ready when I walked back to my garage a block away.

The place had 2 other tables when I arrived at 1.30 but only pick up and delivery orders after. I have never seen it so empty near lunch time. 

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I got carryout from Hunan Gate yesterday.  Granted it was 3pm so completely empty which is probably normal.  While waiting for my meal, I asked the manager how business was.  She looked sad and said not very good.  I didn't get a chance to ask if it were due to the virus because new customers walked in.  BTW, the beef with broccoli was excellent, better than the version at TNR that I usually get.  Stop with the eyerolls -- even my mother made beef with broccoli when I was a kid (after I put pressure on her).

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8 hours ago, hopsing said:

I got carryout from Hunan Gate yesterday.  Granted it was 3pm so completely empty which is probably normal.  While waiting for my meal, I asked the manager how business was.  She looked sad and said not very good.  I didn't get a chance to ask if it were due to the virus because new customers walked in.  BTW, the beef with broccoli was excellent, better than the version at TNR that I usually get.  Stop with the eyerolls -- even my mother made beef with broccoli when I was a kid (after I put pressure on her).

FWIW, I asked a person who works as a Planet Fitness manager what type of crowd drop-off they had - not surprisingly, he said, "More than half." I suspect that's just the beginning - a public gym is not a place I'd want to be during a pandemic.

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23 hours ago, deangold said:

Oegadgib was slow for lunch today. Not dead. 

Arrowine was packed this afternoon, and I mean so packed that it was extremely uncomfortable.

Not only was it a Petri dish zoo, but - and this applies to just about everywhere - every single person signing their check was using the same pen.

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DC is allowing restaurants and bars to remain open for now, capped still at 250 people, with 6 ft. distance restrictions. No bar seating; no standing patrons. Nightclubs closed.

I assume this is a halfway measure to get people ready for shutting sit-down restaurants entirely and keeping people out of bars. Probably should have gone all the way with this.

Notice with the details here.

While on a walk (the only thing I'm leaving the house for is to get some fresh air) I saw from a notice on the door that the Pretzel Bakery has cut hours, is to-go only, and won't accept cash. Also they're now pouring coffee rather than using communal carafes. Their outside tables are still there and a couple were occupied.

 

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Jose Andres, bless him,  is closing his DC-area restaurants until further notice and opening up some community kitchens for people who need it to get take-away lunches.

Article from NBC Washington here.

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1. Dr. Fauci is in good shape. I pass him running on a local route every week.

2 Perhaps we shouldn't have but my daughters and I ate at Chez Billy Sud for brunch today. Few tables occupied and we all were very far apart. This is going to devastate the local industry and the owner-run places (as opposed to corporate locations like a cheesecake factory) will be the ones that cannot survive and cannot come back. I am fearful for many dear friends and their livelihoods (both as owners and workers.) 

3. I would not be surprised if by mid-week all restaurants, bars and retail shops will be ordered by the DC government to close. 

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I'm sure many of you have seen this but here's a link to Washingtonian's best delivery in DC article from a day or two ago.  I didn't know many of these places deliver, but the news of places that are converting to carry out or delivery only is moving fast (e.g., Izakaya Seki today).

We got delivery from Chiko in Dupont Circle yesterday and it was fantastic.

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I just saw that Jose Andres is closing all his DC area restaurants and paying staff for 2 weeks.  Some of the restaurants will be serving as community kitchens and open from 12-5 handing out meals at a side door.

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Saturday brunch, we went to Tupelo Honey.  My friend said it is normally packed.  All the occupied tables were spaced far from each other.

Saturday dinner we went to Carlyle.  Again spacing distance was maximized.  I noticed a staffer scrubbing a table real hard after it was vacated.  Gave me more confidence.

Sunday dinner - delivery pizza from Stone Hot Pizza.  Guess I'm not dining out for a while. 😪

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 Please never patronize Hill Restaurant Group joints

That's the Cerveras' old restaurant group under a different name, minus Boxcar Tavern, which now has a completely different owner. The brothers are apparently no longer involved in the restaurant group, but the ownership changes along the way were always kind of iffy.

The mayor did not like their reply and told them they must comply. From her statement:

Quote

 

...you must comply with the DC Health notice.

We all have an obligation to do our part to contain the spread of this global pandemic and get to the business of recovery as soon as possible.

Until then, your compliance is required, and we will exercise the full force of our MPD, FEMS, DC Health and ABRA……and the emergency authority to achieve it.

 

Story at capitolhillcorner.org

 

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You probably only have a matter of days to get takeout / delivery from a restaurant and there's certainly some cool places offering these services that normally wouldn't.  *I'm on doing this for places that have stopped allowing in house dining - shout outs to Tail up Goat for leading the #shutusdown trend on social media and encouraging action from DC rather than putting the onus on the restaurants themselves.

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Governor Larry Hogan announced an executive order Monday to close all bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms in the state of Maryland starting  5 p.m. on Monday. Drive-thru, carryout, and delivery will continue ... for now.

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The DC restaurant scene will be unrecognizable in five years. This is similar to what happened during the 2007-2008 recession (and subsequent recovery). Before mass closures began occurring, I was familiar with every single restaurant in the area; after a few years of recovery, I never again became as familiar with area restaurants as I was before. This is all very well-documented on this website, and it's going to happen again, perhaps even more dramatically.

For whatever it's worth (not much, apparently), I feel uniquely qualified to be saying this.

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I've heard several figures in the "hundreds of people" per restaurant group, just today, on WTOP - either "furloughed" (which means they're getting health insurance, until they don't) or terminated. There may be well over 1,000 people in the DMV restaurant industry who have lost their jobs just in these past-two days.

Society has decided that protecting against this illness is more urgent than preserving our norms of living (and maybe it is). However, because of this priority, I suspect this is going to be the single-biggest restaurant upheaval in national history, in absolute terms, and unless things change in a hurry, the effects will be long-term if not permanent. Because so many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, it's impossible for civilization to take refuge in a cave for two months, and have everything be the same once they emerge.

I really, really hope I'm wrong, but based on events of the past week, I don't see a "recovery" so much as a "rebirth."

(And yes, I'm thinking of the ending of "2001: A Space Odyssey" right now.)

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Reading a WaPo article about the impact on restaurants, in addition to buying gift cards to use after things reopen, please also take advantage of any pickup/delivery options and if the restaurant sells any merchandise, buy t-shirts or cookbooks or the like.

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11 hours ago, weezy said:

Reading a WaPo article about the impact on restaurants, in addition to buying gift cards to use after things reopen, please also take advantage of any pickup/delivery options and if the restaurant sells any merchandise, buy t-shirts or cookbooks or the like.

And if they are offering alcohol to-go, please consider that as well.  Yes, it will cost you a lot more than picking items up at the liquor store, but most establishments doing this are trying to meet you in the middle (some discount off of menu price).  My view is that once this blows over I would like a lot of places that I frequent near my house  still open, with the same friendly faces on the other side of the bar.  I know that many of them probably won't weather it, but if we don't support them when and where we can right now they certainly won't.

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Clarity has been offering 3 course take away dinners for $35.  Quite a bargain for what you get.  Check the website daily for what is on offer.  They tell us that all staff has been kept employed.  Why not order a meal to help keep it that way?  Don't forget to tip!

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I am hoping that one positive item will come out of all of this:  we need mandatory sick leave for food workers.  Industries that place workers at risk of losing their jobs for being sick should be nowhere near our food supplies.  

Meanwhile, we are planning on finding ways to support our local restaurants.  

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Padaek, Thip Thao, and their 2 sister restaurants have stopped offering takeout and shut down for now.  Just posted to their FB page. They mentioned gift cards so it appears that they currently expect to reopen.  The projections I just read require 3 months of sheltering in place for most of the US including Virginia if we want to avoid hospital overload.

https://www.facebook.com/115494498473231/posts/2900118850010768/?sfnsn=mo

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I’m not sure that take-a-way and curb side delivery is a good thing.  Paper and cardboard can carry the virus.  When you pickup a meal who knows who has touched the paper, paper bag, etc.  Even if all of the  cooks are healthy, who knows the status of the people who deliver the paper to the restaurant?

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Kenji Lopez-Alt did a pretty deep dive on takeout vs home cooking. His entire food and Corona virus is documented with links to where the info is coming. 

https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/03/food-safety-and-coronavirus-a-comprehensive-guide.html#sick-from-take-out

He does not deem take out a particular risk. All the same things can be said to be a risk at the grocery store and restaurants are better trained to health safety issues.

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On 3/14/2020 at 4:58 PM, DonRocks said:

Arrowine was packed this afternoon, and I mean so packed that it was extremely uncomfortable.

Not only was it a Petri dish zoo, but - and this applies to just about everywhere - every single person signing their check was using the same pen.

My how things have changed. Arrowine is open, but only behind a locked door, letting a select few customers in one at a time, and Doug Rosen himself - dressed in nearly full military regalia - forces you to accept four shots of hand sanitzer (front and back of each hand), and rub thoroughly, before letting you in the front door. No signatures at all this time around - this place is operating under martial law. They have plenty of most everything (including their Kill Devil Hills Roasters coffee).

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in my email from Neighborhood Restaurant Group

 
 
Our business model is changing. Operating 20 independent restaurants in three states and DC in this climate is unsustainable.  We now have two unmistakable goals: to continue to support and employ staff during this challenging time, and to feed the communities and the people that have embraced us during our 22 years of business.

To that end, we are creating Neighborhood Provisions — nrgprovisions.com — an online destination offering a great selection of comfort meals, ready-to-cook foods, pantry items, wine and beer (and, in DC, liquor) all delivered straight to your door. We will be ready to launch this portal later this week.

Neighborhood Provisions is a joint effort of the chefs, managers and beverage specialists of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.  Exactly what you can get will vary a bit depending on your location, but you can count on a broad range of chef-driven options in all our delivery regions - from Tony Chittum’s chicken soup to Jarrad Silver’s mushroom fricassee, from Nate Anda’s meatball sub to Stephen McRae’s Sgt. Pepperoni pizza.
...
Red Apron's butcher shops in DC’s Penn Quarter and VA’s Fairfax will remain open for counter service, but guests of Neighborhood Provisions will also have access to its ground beef, sliced bacon or brined chickens, all for purchase online and available for delivery to your doorstep.

Buzz Bakeshop in Alexandria will also continue counter service while also supplying Neighborhood Provisions with its sweet treats and Nazia Khan’s cold brew concentrate.

Bluejacket, Planet Wine, The Partisan, Rustico and B-Side offer beer and wine delivery services, with spirits and curated cocktails available at our DC locations thanks to Nick Farrell. We will continue to sell our cans and bottles through these outlets, as well as through Neighborhood Provisions.

...
Every purchase made at Neighborhood Provisions will support our team and support our communities. We will offer a 10% discount to anyone in the restaurant industry on all purchases. Every dollar spent will earn guests points toward NRG gift certificates for use at any of our businesses once the world gets back to normal.

Please join the NRG Provisions mailing list to receive the latest menus, news, previews, updates, features, promotions and more. And from the bottom of our heart, thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support and patronage.
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1 hour ago, Marty L. said:

2Amys is closed.  As are Etto, Thip Khao and Hanumanh.  Two or three weeks from now there might be few decent spots still open.

The "good" news (if you can possibly call it that) is that there's probably a fairly static demand for carryout food right now, and as the supply shrinks, the remaining restaurants will pick up the unsupplied demand. Obviously the demand could shrink if people retreat to deep-frozen TV dinners, but people still need to eat, and young people in the DC area are going to go out of their minds if they're at home for the next month.

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We got take out from Holy Cow tonight- quite tasty, I think it is better right in the store, but not bad at all delivery!  Rings and tots were a nice splurge after a long run today (well long for me, and my run is likely other people's jog).  And we live close enough neither rings or tots were at all soggy.  Burger a little more done than I otherwise would like it, but given delivery I think it was a good delivery burger!  And we like supporting hyper local.  

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