After two long months of shutdowns, restaurants across the New Orleans area finally have the chance to welcome diners once again.
New Orleans dining room service will resume at 25 percent capacity on Saturday, one day after the rest of Louisiana. And restaurants are taking reopening efforts slowly and seriously, in accordance with city and state guidelines for Phase One.
Generally, restaurants are trying to ease customers’ worries by being fully transparent about plans to implement new safety guidelines. For example, Link Restaurant Group released its full slate of reopening safety protocols to the public.
While some businesses jump at the first chance to bring back diners, others say they don’t mind waiting a little longer.
GW Fins says it will reopen dining rooms as soon as Phase One goes into effect in New Orleans on Saturday. In fact, the restaurant says opening night is already completely booked.
“We are incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support during the past 48 hours since the city lifted its ban and are completely booked this Saturday night,” co-owner Gary Wollerman said in a statement.
Wollerman said the restaurant has incorporated every government safety and social distance protocol to offer a worry-free dining experience for guests.
Executive chef Michael Nelson will create a menu that will be available for dining room guests and through curbside pick-up. For guests not ready to return to dining rooms, the restaurant says it will continue to offer curbside service for the foreseeable future.
“We will be wearing masks, but make no mistake, we will all be grinning from ear to ear to welcome you back into our dining room and see you enjoying your favorite GW Fins dishes,” Wollerman said.
Owners at Galatoire’s say they will wait a little longer to reopen dining rooms. The restaurant’s historic location and Galatoire’s “33” Bar and Steak will reopen with reservations for limited capacity on Wednesday, May 20.
The iconic restaurant says it will roll out the full menu in dining rooms across both restaurants. Guests choosing to dine-in will need to make reservations first, but walk-ins will be accepted for on-the-spot reservations if space allows.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to start moving the economy and to welcome our patrons back into our dining rooms. We are taking the safety protocols very seriously and we have confidence that our guests will too,” Melvin Rodrigue, president and CEO of Galatoire’s, said in a release. “We are looking forward to moving through to Phase 2.”
Galatorie’s says it’s using the extra time before re-opening to implement the new set of detailed protocols to ensure the safety of employees and guests.
While the restaurant prepares to reopen, it will pause its offerings of lunch and dinner Family Meals To- Go. However, Galatoire’s says it plans to resume this service as soon as possible.
Pêche and Cochon will reopen for the first time with limited seated service, as well as providing to-go orders.
“I believe it’s time to come together as a community and begin to brave the waters,” Donald Link, executive chef and owner of Link Restaurant Group, said in a release. “We are ready for you, and we will do this in a way where people can dine around a table again – going above and beyond safety practices yet still having fun.”
Each restaurant will allow 20 patrons to be seated every 30 minutes, with a maximum of six people per table, spaced ten feet apart. In an abundance of caution, each table will have a single server and continual sanitation will take place throughout the meal, according to the restaurant group.
“We are happy to be reopening to serve our community, and excited to bring our staff back into the restaurants,” said Stephen Stryjewski, chef and partner Link Restaurant Group. “They are a part of our family, so it’s important to have everyone back together.”
Link Restaurant Group also revealed plans for Herbsaint and Gianna to also reopen in upcoming weeks, but an exact date has yet to be announced.
In the same neighborhood, Piece of Meat Butcher and Restaurant said they also won’t resume seating at this time.
“These are uncertain times and we’d rather be safe than risk anyone of y’all or us getting sick,” the restaurant said on Facebook.
In the Central Business District, Josephine Estelle, inside Ace Hotel, says it’s excited to open seated restaurant dining on Friday, May 22. However, diners can look forward to take-out and delivery launching on Friday, May 15.
The restaurant says it will also offer some brand new dishes including pizzas, lasagna and sandwiches. The new takeout menu also has a selection of wines and cocktails.
Ace Hotel said it will soon launch a bottle shop inside its music venue, Three Keys, while it’s temporarily closed. When the bottle shop opens, guests can pick up fresh house-made pastas and sauces for cooking at home, along with bottles from Josephine Estelle’s Wine Spectator Award-winning wine list.
Magazine Street Italian eatery, Avo, will also welcome diners back on Tuesday, May 19 for both in-restaurant dining and takeout.
Avo’s menu will feature wide selection of apps, pastas, entrees, desserts and cocktails. The restaurant said it will also offer a selection of dried, housemade pastas and sauces for guests to create homemade Italian meals.
Check back for updates as we get them.
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