As the world adapts to a devastating pandemic, certain industries get rattled more than others. The food and hospitality arena is one such industry, virtually shut off to a public confined to their homes amid the quarantine.
All is not lost, however. Many restaurants have adopted or bolstered takeout models, preparing food from their kitchens and delivering it to doorsteps or setting it out for pickup. Others have closed shop entirely, laying off countless workers. With so much uncertainty in the air, it’s hard to know of some of these places will ever come back to life.
But we’re here to look at the bright side — the chefs and cooks who are able to keep preparing meals, offering you some much-needed satisfaction. Giving them business is a way to keep at least a slice of the culinary sector afloat.
In Portland, several big names are still turning out food, albeit for boxes, not plates. John Gorham’s Mediterranean Exploration Co., Ken’s Artisan Bakery, Mother’s Bistro, Renata, Miss Delta and more are doing takeout. Winery and restaurant combos, like Fullerton and Southeast Wine Collective, are following suit, offering takeout grub options as well as specials on wines.
Canard is rummaging through its esteemed cellar and selling various selections. While the wine bar and its sibling restaurant, Le Pigeon, are closing for a while, celebrated chef Gabriel Rucker is hosting weekly cooking demos via Instagram Live. Aviation Gin is donating 30% of proceeds from all online sales to the United States Bartenders Guild, an industry in need and largely unemployed at this time.
Restaurants rightfully like to remind us that so much is at stake here. The entire food chain is feeling the impacts. The Farm Spirit Family Restaurant Group (including produce-rich eateries like Fermenter and Folklore) stresses the need to back the vital regional farmers who supply the entire industry.
“Since opening our first location five years ago as a tiny 14-seat chef’s counter, the Portland dining public has supported us in innumerable ways,” says owner Aaron Adams. “Even though we are in uncharted waters right now, looking after one another and nourishing ourselves with healthy food that supports Pacific Northwest farming community is more important than ever. We look forward to feeding our loyal guests during this challenging time.”
In Seattle, the situation is similar, a metropolis known for its restaurants but forced into takeout and potential shuttered establishments. There are significant petitions on the table, a major one being spearheaded by Seattle Restaurants United. It asks that more be done for true small businesses like local restaurants, as they’ll need the boost far more than the less vulnerable larger franchises and corporations.
DO YOUR PART
The scene is getting creative in its quest to stay alive. Places like Old Stove Brewing are offering beer and food orders for pickup, and many more like Tin Dog Brewing are offering curbside pickup for growlers, crowlers and cans. Delancey in Ballard is offering its wood-fired pies and more via takeout and Harry’s Fine Foods is taking to Instagram to advertise its daily take-out menus. Even dine-in institutions like Canlis are offering family meals to-go (with a bottle of wine) which offer at least a glimpse of their culinary magic.
And support your local Chinese restaurants, if they’re still operating. The Asian nation has been scapegoated by many in power since the pandemic broke out. Instead of buying into misplaced and unfair blame, give the expansive culinary genre some of your business. Buy gift certificates through nonprofit groups like the Pay Forward Project. Tip handsomely like with the Portland Virtual Tip Jar. We’re all in this together.
Check eatery websites and social media handles for the latest news and keep in mind that they operate within a rational delivery radius.