Coronavirus chaos: Bay Area restaurants pivot to delivery, take-out only

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A fine-dining restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District has turned into a general store. An Oakland seafood spot is boxing its shrimp boils. And for one longtime San Jose pizzeria, it’s delivery as usual — except these pies are free for any customer over age 70.

The Bay Area restaurant world pivoted yesterday following an unprecedented shelter-in-place to curb the spread of coronavirus. Restaurants in seven counties — everything from fast-casual to fine dining — closed their dining rooms, with many switching operations to delivery and take-out, trying to keep locked-down families fed and their employees collecting paychecks for as long as possible.

Doña, a fine-casual Mexican restaurant in Oakland, is going curbside, with online lunch and dinner orders of chef-owner Doña Savitsky’s from-scratch tacos, burritos and bowls delivered straight to your car.

“You don’t have to stand in line or even get out of your car,” Savitsky says. “Call us when you pull into the parking lot and we’ll bring the food out to you.”

The current restaurant climate is “really intense,” Savitsky says, and she’s desperate to keep cash flowing for her employees. She has already stopped paying herself.

At Oakland’s alaMar Kitchen & Bar, chef-owner Nelson German and his team have kept their braised oxtail, cumin-laced chicken wings and seafood boils flying out the door in single-portion boxes via take-out, delivery and curbside pickup. But German was forced to close his new restaurant and bar, Sobre Mesa, on Monday. It had been open 11 days.

Some establishments, including Belcampo, which operates restaurants and butcher shops in Larkspur, San Francisco, San Mateo and Oakland, found the pivot fairly natural. “We run an organic meat business and people want to have eggs and bacon and grass-fed beef right now,” says co-founder and CEO Anya Fernald.

Belcampo general manager Gina Seghi, right, hands off a take-out food order to delivery driver Uender Teixeira at the Jack London Square restaurant in Oakland. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

Customers use the Belcampo app — which offers free delivery — of butcher shop items as well as burgers, fries and high-protein salads. Belcampo has long offered delivery, but there’s a difference in what customers are ordering now during the pandemic. Order size has gone up 50 percent, Fernald says, “What that tells me is families are ordering more, having dinner in and leftovers.”

And then there’s Prairie, a live-fire grill in San Francisco’s Mission District, which has transformed its mid-century modern dining room into a general store. There, customers can stock up on shelf-stable pantry items — everything from canned Alaskan salmon to a pasta kit with three dried pastas and sauce — as well as meal kits for two ($56) with dishes such as wood oven-roasted duck leg confit with hedgehog mushroom gravy and maple cake.

Anthony Strong converted his Mission District restaurant, Prairie, into a general store — with meal kits, shelf-stable ingredients and home goods — after the governor’s order forced the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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