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Ways to Support Restaurants in Trying Times PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
April 2020

Food news we know you can use

TPix_Dish_4-20hese are unprecedented times in the food and beverage industry. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is affecting the global economy, shutting down businesses everywhere. That includes restaurants here in Miami, which have no choice but to turn away customers looking to dine in.

It’s no secret that restaurants run on thin margins, and this developing pandemic has forced establishments to let go or furlough many of their workers. As a result, local eateries need our support more than ever. Thankfully, there are ways you can help keep them afloat even while their dining rooms are closed. Here’s what you can do to help your favorites weather the storm:

• First, support delivery and takeout initiatives. While dining in is no longer possible for the foreseeable future, restaurants are turning to these alternatives to make up the difference in business. This month’s Dining Guide reflects the change. It’s significantly shorter than previous editions because it only contains restaurants that offer one of these services. Some restaurants are offering their regular menus for the road, while others are offering novel alternatives like meal kits to re-create your favorite restaurant dishes at home. This is a fluid situation and details are subject to change, so contact the business for the latest details.

• On that note, work with the restaurant directly if you plan on picking up or ordering delivery. Third-party services like UberEats and Grubhub are convenient, but they charge fees that can cut into a restaurant’s business -- fees as high as 30 percent of the order. It’s a big chunk of change, and every dollar counts when business is already suffering. To avoid these fees and keep their workers employed, restaurants are entrusting in-house staff with deliveries. If that’s the case, choose this option so that more money goes to the business and its staff.

• Another way you can help a local business is through merchandise sales. Not all establishments have merchandise up for grabs, but those that do are increasingly giving money from those sales to their workers. Picking up a hat, shirt, or other apparel can help put money into the pockets of adversely affected workers. Consider buying gift cards for future use as well.

• Because so many people have lost their jobs owing to the closures, certain establishments are letting guests sponsor meals for the unemployed. Buying a meal -- or two or ten -- can ensure a hot meal for those who dealing with an uncertain job market.

No matter how you choose to support your favorite restaurant, don’t forget to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations: Wash your hands regularly; avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth; and cover coughs and sneezes.

 

OPENINGS

Although everything is closed for right now, the future looks bright once the situation settles down. One of the biggest openings prior to the mandated closures was Punch Bowl Social (2660 NW 3rd Ave., 786-796-5242), which combines elevated bar food like cauliflower nachos and crab Rangoon dip with fun activities like karaoke, arcade games, and bowling. There are also large-format cocktails available to keep the good times going well into the night. Once social distancing becomes a thing of the past, Punch Bowl Social is poised to become one of Wynwood’s latest hot spots.

Another notable opening: Nativo Kitchen & Bar (1395 Brickell Ave., 25th floor, 305-503-6529) inside Conrad Miami. At Nativo, Top Chef alum Pablo Lamon is serving up his fun takes on Latin flavors. Highlights include a green apple crudo, hibiscus braised chicken, and beet-glazed short rib. It’s worth visiting just for the view of Biscayne Bay, and we can’t wait for it to reopen.

Last but certainly not least is El Bagel (6910 Biscayne Blvd.), MiMo’s new bagel shop. The famous local food truck now has a brick-and-mortar store that’s cranking out an expanded menu of bagel sandwiches and other goodies. The store is now closed on county orders, but all the favorites are available for online ordering. This includes the B.E.C. (bacon, egg, and cheese) and the King Guava with guava marmalade, a fried egg, and potato sticks. In these uncertain times, it’s nice to know we can still count on comfort classics like bagels.

 

Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin-Anderson are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

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