As life starts to return to normal and restaurants are once again reopening for dine in service, people are venturing out and eating out. On a recent Saturday some restaurants were busy with their lunch time service. Customers were peeking inside restaurants and checking the menus which are now either one time use paper or are posted on the doors.
Some diners were entering a restaurant without a mask and they were asked to cover their faces to enter. Some kept on their face covering at the table, some had it off. While diners are getting used to the new regulations, restaurant operators are adhering to strict rules to maintain safety. “A lot of people are confused,” said Tent City restaurant Manager Elena Wu.
Tent City stayed open through the pandemic with weekend take out service only and once it reopened it has adopted the new regulations. All the employees wore masks and gloves during my visit. Wu explained that as customers come in, they can check the menu, posted on the door, then come in, order at the counter, then they sit down.
“We sanitize everything and we don’t share anything,” said Wu. What that means is that condiments are all single serve. Tables only get one server who brings drinks and food.
“We provide sanitizer for the customers and clean the bathroom frequently,” she said.
To increase social distancing, Tent City has diminished its capacity and has removed some tables and chairs from the inside portion of the restaurant.
Wu said customers are supposed to wear a mask when they come in. Once they sit at their tables the face covering can come off, but if they move around the restaurant or have to use the restroom the face covering has to be on. Tent City reopened Friday on May 22 for dine in service.
Mike Figueroa and his family were sitting on the patio waiting for their drinks.“I feel comfortable,” he said about eating out.
Those who are ready to take advantage of the dine in option, Tent City offers a large menu with a variety of choices. For lunch try the Chipotle Chicken Panini with grilled chicken breast, bacon, mozzarella and chipotle cream cheese on torta bread served with chips or green salad. For breakfast, eggs rule at Tent City with omelettes like the Bacon and Cheese and Denver made with ham, bell peppers, cheese and onions served with potatoes.
Tent City draws inspiration from the Del’s Tent City with its white and blue stripes decor and it’s a place to enjoy our newfound freedom either inside or at one of the outdoor tables.
Down the street at Little Frenchie, tables are extended on the sidewalk towards the nearby bank to allow for more social distancing.
The protocol the restaurant is following includes a temperature check when employees come in for their shift, bathrooms are cleaned every hour or half hour, and the soap dispenser is always full and the paper towels are stocked.
“Customers are happy to be sitting again; they are patient, positive and happy to be out,” said supervisor Vinny Spatafore. Little Frenchie was open for take out during the pandemic and reopened for dining on Memorial Day weekend. Spatafore said the about 10 tables inside the restaurants were placed outside to increase social distancing and diners were sitting at every other table.
Customer Bob Maguire and his wife from Scottsdale, Arizona, were having lunch at one of the outdoor tables. He said they have been eating out for weeks since the restrictions were lifted earlier in Arizona. “I feel safe, servers wear masks,” he said.
A Paris inspired neighborhood cafe with a great wine list and variety of cheeses Little Frenchie offers unique dishes. Le Brunch menu has some delicious choices like Smoked Salmon Croissant Benedict with spinach, poached eggs, hollandaise and mixed greens. Try the Croque Madame on a brioche, with ham, mornay sauce, sunny side egg, and mixed greens.
Don’t forget the Frenchie’s Cheese Board or the traditional French dish Beef Bourguignon.
McP’s Irish Pub was busy with many diners enjoying the patio. Some of them had also brought their dogs. McP’s just reopened on May 27, and like every other restaurant allowing dine in, McP’s has taken extra precautions. The restaurant has also taken advantage of the sidewalk and placed tables outside the wall for social distancing. McP’s was closed during the quarantine and now it has reopened anyone who orders a drink has to also order food based on the regulations. Customers can chose a one time use paper menu or scan the menu on their phone.
The menu at McP’s since its reopening is more streamlined but some of the favorites are still there like Shepard’s Pie, Fish & Chips and Shares like Pub Crusties - toasted baguette slices, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, tomatoes, garlic, feta, balsamic dressing.
Whichever restaurant you choose to support don’t forget to follow the new safety guidelines and don’t forget to wear face covering into the restuarant.
Tent City, 1100 Orange Avenue. Call 619-537-0388.
Little Frenchie, 1166 Orange Avenue. Call 619-675-0041 or log on littlefrenchie.com
McP’s Irish Pub, 1107 Orange Avenue. Call 619-435-5280 or log on mcpspub.com