Jackson restaurateurs have begun to make adjustments to dining services, choosing options — takeout, mostly — that promise less human contact.
Fine Dining Restaurant Group led the charge, announcing a temporary close to most of its restaurants to full-service dining on Monday. The Phoenix and the Dragon, the Blue Collar Restaurant Group, the Mangy Moose, and the Spur Restaurant and Bar followed suit later Sunday. Like Fine Dining, they will only serve take-out starting Monday.
"It's just a safety issue," Blue Collar Owner Joe Rice said. "I don't want to be that guy. Money's never been my driving factor. We care about our people."
Eric and Zarina Sakai, the owners of the Phoenix and the Dragon felt similarly.
"We hope people can look past the monetary losses, even though it’s very difficult to do as a business owner," Eric Sakai said. "The question and the bigger responsibility is you need to care about the people who are supporting you and you need to think about the role you play in all of this."
Starting Monday, Fine Dining will only offer to-go options from Rendezvous Bistro, The Kitchen, Roadhouse Pub and Eatery, Il Villagio Osteria and Bar Enoteca.
It will also serve to-go beer from the Roadhouse Taproom, though the Taproom will be closed to bar service.
Two of Fine Dining's shops, Bin22 and Bodega, will stay open, implementing social distancing measures.
Fine Dining's changes will last for 14 days, and will be re-evaluated going forward.
Blue Collar restaurants include Sidewinders, the Merry Piglets Mexican Grill, Bubba's Bar-B-Que Restaurant, Liberty Burger and Noodle Kitchen. Rice said his restaurant's take-out only service would start Monday and last for "a few weeks at least."
The Sakais said The Phoenix and the Dragon will offer contact-free to go orders, which will be picked up from a table outside the restaurant. They also said they hoped to begin to offer contact-free delivery, though the details of the latter have to be ironed out.
The Mangy Moose will also continue to keep its basement grocery store open.
In a Facebook post, Fine Dining Owner Gavin Fine encouraged customers to add a 20% gratuity to to-go orders to support employees.
He also said his business would be "creating a fund for our employees" and "working with local organizations to donate unused products to support families experiencing food uncertainty during area closures.”
"We’re all in this together, so let us know if there’s anything we can do to help," Fine wrote. "I look forward to the time we’re able to raise a glass together again."
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