Home Business How are Lexington restaurants being impacted by COVID-19

How are Lexington restaurants being impacted by COVID-19


On Monday, March 16, Governor Beshear announced the statewide closure of all bars and restaurants to in-person traffic effective after 5 pm, but exceptions will be made for drive-thru, delivery and takeout.

restaurants“I know everyone is stressed right now. But perhaps none more so than us small business owners,” says Dan Wu of Atomic Ramen. “The brutal reality is that many of our restaurants, shops and services will not survive this pandemic and its response. We need your help and we need it now.”

He continues, “Restaurants have always been on top of our handwashing, cleaning and generally hygiene. If you trusted us with your food before, you can trust us now.”

Babycakes Cupcakes’ owner posted on Friday, “I just wanted to send a little reassurance. I run the shop alone and control all aspects from start to finish; no one ever touches a cupcake, but me, until they are happily at your destination. After every transaction, my counters are wiped, my credit card machine is wiped, doorknobs are wiped; any surface that was graced by outside hands is wiped with bleach. After all money transactions, my hands are sanitized and all of my equipment has always been bleached during every wash cycle. I deal with a lot of food allergies, so these practices have always been a part of my operation. I love my community and your safety is so important to me. I know things seem scary and confusing, but I do hope you find reasons to celebrate.”

Before Beshear made the request for all bars and restaurants to close to in-person traffic, Country Boy Brewing and West Sixth Brewing were among the first taprooms to announce their temporary closure on Sunday, March 15. Pivot Brewing shortly followed with the same announcement.

Doodles initially posted, “We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and are increasing the frequency of steps we already take to insure a safe and healthy environment at the restaurant. We have eliminated some of the self-service aspect of dining at doodles (no more hand held menus, no more self serve silverware etc.). Our intention is to continue to serve our community as long as it is safe for all of you and us.”
The diner then posted, “If breakfast in bed sounds up your alley call us for a take out order. We’ll bring it out to your car. We have also changed up our table wait system so be sure and bring a cell phone if you plan on dining inside our restaurant (we’ll ask you to wait outside until we can take your order and seat you). We’ve spread our tables apart and are continuing to follow all the guidelines that help squash the spread of Covid-19.”

Kevin Lane Dearinger shared his recent experience at the Euclid Kroger on Saturday, “It was a zoo this afternoon. A run on pasta and pineapple sherbet. One lady had what appeared to be thirty cans of Beefaroni in her cart. She looked particularly humorless. The stock clerks were jovial. Artisanal breads were lonely and unwanted. The salad bar was as closed as the last Blockbuster Video. My own prudence? I wiped down everything with a Clorox towelette. The Girl Scouts sold out and bailed out.”

Many restaurants are offering unique and independent delivery services, like girlsgirlsgirls burritos, who offers bicycle delivery and takeout exclusively through their website. “We’re offering free delivery to help people working from home and choosing to stay in more often. Folks are welcome to add instructions on their order if they’d like it left on their doorstep w/o contact. For those stopping by the shop but practicing social distancing, we have tables spread out accordingly and outdoor seating. girls’ staff practices excellent hygiene, and all our tools and spaces are sanitized as required and every hour at the minimum. We love Lexington, are happy to offer healthy food during this challenging time, and will continue to patron our fellow local restaurants and support their employees.”

restaurantsGood Foods Co-op initially suspended their typical self-serving options on their hot bar, salad bar, and soup bar, and instead offered some prepackaged foods on the bars and in their grab & go coolers. Whole Foods did the same while asking customers “no nibbling, please.” On Monday, Good Foods Co-op closed the dining room in their cafe along with all in-person counter services and transitioned into taking all cafe orders over the phone with curbside pickup available.

“News about this global concern is so fluid, it has understandably created anxiety and uncertainty,” said Britney Ruby Miller, President of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment. We’ve taken this threat seriously and have implemented comprehensive tactics to guard against it in each of our steakhouses.”

“The trajectory of the Coronavirus issue is certainly concerning for everyone in hospitality right now,” said Miller. “We feel an obligation to our wonderful teams, guests and communities to do all we can to combat this. We’re very hopeful that if corporate citizens step up as so many already have and take thoughtful, preventative measures, we’ll collectively help flatten the severity and duration curve which will promote a healthier outlook.”

The Lexington Parking Authority (LPA) announced today that it will convert several paid parking spaces into “Curbside Pick-Up ONLY” spaces.

In an effort to support local restaurants and merchants in the downtown and Chevy Chase areas, LexPark announced on Monday that it will convert several paid parking spaces into “Curbside Pick-up ONLY” spaces marked by blue bags. Restaurants and merchants are encouraged to reach out to the LexPark customer service center to request a nearby meter to be converted for this use.

Despite the St. Patrick’s Parade cancellation, Oscar Diggs recommends North Limestone as a holiday celebration destination, offering paper and plastic utensils upon request, and sanitizing menus after being used. “It’s not just the luck of the Irish, it’s also careful planning and a lot of preparation around here that brings a delicious St. Patrick’s day menu to life!”

Restaurant Workers Relief Program
Due to the closure of restaurants, we have an urgent need for assistance for the thousands of restaurant workers who find themselves suddenly without work, without a paycheck and without a support system. Independent restaurants are at the center of the vibrant growth in America. For the past decade, we have relied on the stellar hospitality and positive PR, now restaurant workers need your help more than ever. If we don’t take a stand and do something now, there will not be an independent restaurant industry to speak of when the corona-virus crisis is over.

In partnership with Maker’s Mark, the LEE Initiative launched Restaurant Workers Relief Program. Starting on Tuesday, March 17, 610 Magnolia will be turned into a relief center for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours.

According to a Facebook post on Lee Initiative’s page “We are offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies. Each night, we will pack hundreds of to go dinners that people can come to pick up and take home. Dinners are offered on a first come first serve basis. Limit 2 to a person unless there is an emergency situation.”

The restaurant will also have supplies on hand for those in need: diapers, wipes, baby food, non-perishable canned foods and cereals, toilet paper, and Tylenol with limits on how much any one person can take. The program will be offered seven nights a week between 5-8:30 pm, unless otherwise notified. Bring a paycheck stub or proof of restaurant employment.

Sidebar Grill initially stressed, “We are open for dining and drinking and adhere to the same strict health department policies as we always have.”

During a time of uncertainty, Zim’s Cafe is asking those on the receiving end to give as well. Father Jim Sichko, a Papal Missionary of Mercy, and Chef Ouita Michel are teaming up this St. Patrick’s Day to give away free dinners. On Tuesday, March 17 beginning at 4 pm, Zim’s Cafe will give away 100 dinners to the first 50 cars sitting curbside on Short Street. But, there is a catch: each family dinner, which will include servings for two adults and two children, will be given as a gift, while another single serving meal will be given to those on the receiving end with the request they take it to a friend or someone in need. All meals are free of charge. Meals will include Stonecross Kentucky Proud Corned Beef with creamy mustard sauce, slow cooked Cabbage Irish Colcannon, whipped potatoes with chives, parsley, cream, bacon and baby kale, Midway Bakery Irish Soda Bread, and green velvet cupcakes for dessert.

For a sampling of which restaurants are doing carryout or delivery, click here.



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