Restaurants in Orange County have started to open this week for customers who want more than takeout food. The county lifted some restrictions over the weekend to allow restaurants to reopen with proper safety measures in place. Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach opens its doors tonight for diners who make advance reservations and wear a face covering to enter and exit the restaurant.
Places with outdoor seating seem the first candidates to get diners back to their tables. Guests sat on the outdoor patio at Lido Bottle Works in Newport Beach on Saturday evening. Chef Amy Lebrun described her mood and the strange circumstances of this period, exclaiming “I’m plating food again!”
Many local establishments are taking precautions beyond the official guidelines. Glasspar in Dana Point, which will reopen at the end of this week, installed hands-free doors for the restrooms, has single-use menus, and employees there will wear clear cloth masks or full face shields. “It’s important to us to be able to convey to our guests how genuinely happy we are to see them, while ensuring both their safety and the safety of our staff,” says chef-owner Rob Wilson. “These clear face shields and masks allow us to continue to welcome and serve guests with a smile.”
The Winery begins taking reservations today for dine-in experiences starting Friday. The locations in Tustin and Newport Beach have been fitted with clear partitions throughout to contribute to diners’ safety. “(The) gorgeous custom dividers … are made from medical-grade Lexan (and) are transparent for a ‘barely-there’ feel that won’t distract from our guest experience,” says co-owner JC Clow. Employees at The Winery will have their temperature checked before starting work and will wear face coverings and gloves, tables will not be preset, and the restaurant will have a reduced capacity to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
These are just a few examples of steps O.C. restaurants are taking to get customers back into the dining rooms. When you’re ready to eat out, call your favorite place to see what measures are in place and then head over. Provided we can stay safe, it will be good to show our love to the local restaurants, and they will be delighted to see you, too.