Dining Options: Delivery, Takeout, Curbside Pickup

Takeout sack

 

 

Central Florida restaurants are adapting to the changing strictures being imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are details that some of your favorite restaurants want you to know regarding how they're dealing with the crisis and what they're doing to keep their kitchens busy and people fed.

We'll share the information from other restaurants as it becomes available, so check back often.

Each entry has the information that was submitted by the restaurant, including, where available, hours of operation and links to menus. In most cases, menus are limited. All information – including menus posted here – is subject to change so be sure to check with the restaurant before ordering.

Key: TO=Takeout, D=Delivery, CP=Curbside Pickup

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Socoto sack

Here’s the thing about restaurant delivery services, those third-party gig operations that allow you to order from various restaurants and have the food brought to your doorstep. They add convenience in the best of times and a valuable service in the worst of times, i.e. now. And that goes both ways: there are benefits to the customers, to be sure, but restaurants also gain by expanding their offerings beyond the dining room.

But it comes at a cost, especially to the restaurants. Many of the delivery services have waived the delivery fee they charge to the customers. The money is made by taking a rather hefty portion of the cost of the order, usually 30 percent. And with most of the restaurants that are still open and offering takeout and delivery, that 30 percent eats into an already meager, nearly nonexistent profit.

So I found it a positive development when the Florida Insurance Commissioner encouraged auto insurance providers to allow restaurants to use their staff members to deliver food and be covered on their regular policies.

One of the restaurants that got approval for its staffers is Soco of Thornton Park, so I was anxious to see how the process worked (and to order some of my favorites from the menu).

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Easter Takeout

I don't know about you but the very thought of going to the grocery store to get food to put together for Easter dinner scares the hell out of me right now.

Much better to order from one of our local restaurants that are offering special Easter Sunday menus. No shopping, no cooking, very little cleanup, though this is a good time to remind you to wash your hands. And even better, by ordering Easter dinner from a restaurant, you're helping to keep a small business open and some employees paid.

But here's the thing: A lot of the restaurants are requiring preorders so they can better plan on how much they'll need. Some of those deadlines are as early as today, though most will allow you to order through Friday. Also, some will require pickup on Saturday – those meals will obviously come with instructions for reheating.

Everybody has a different rule, so hop on over (see what I did there?) to the Easter Dining listings and look over your options; they are myriad. Give careful consideration to Flog favorites Delaney's Tavern, Tap Room at Dubsdread, Soco, Stefano's Trattoria and First Watch.

And you'll even find some that will allow you to still order on Sunday and pick it up or have it delivered. But still, you should plan ahead.

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Saffronto ext

How about Indian food today?

Sorry, we won’t be able to visit a local Indian restaurant for one of the requisite all-you-can-eat buffets. To be realistic, I’m not sure we’ll see self-serve buffets like we used to have B.C. (before covid-19).

But let’s be honest, to really experience what an Indian restaurant can do, it’s better to order from the menu. So that’s what we’ll do at Saffron, the Indian restaurant on Sand Lake Road.

I phoned in my order and negotiated the total, including the gratuity, while still on the phone. When I arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes later, I had only a short wait before someone called to say the order was ready. A man approached the car and place it in the trunk.

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407 Day

Orange County and Visit Orlando have declared Tuesday, April 7, 407 Day as an initiative to show local restaurants and their staff support.

Central Florida residents are encouraged to order takeout or delivery from one of the many restaurants still serving food during the shutdown and taking selfies or photos of the food and posting them with the hashtags #407day and #OrlandoToGo.

Not sure what the hashtags have to do with showing support for the restaurants – the important thing is to order some food, pay for it and tip generously.

Also, you don’t need to confine it to April 7. Most of the restaurants that have remained open are holding on by a proverbial thread. Those I’ve talked to say they are not making a profit and are breaking even at best. They struggle to stay open to provide a service to their customers and a paycheck to their workers.

“Our restaurant community is a vital part of who we are as a region,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings in a press release announcing the initiative. “We are all facing challenges because of covid-19, but we must continue to support our local restaurants. I encourage our residents to order takeout or delivery. This gesture can make a difference in helping to lift up our neighbors through this crisis.”

“407 Day is a celebration of Orlando’s incredibly diverse collection of restaurants, and the dedicated people who work there, who need us right now,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Let’s come together as a community to order from our favorite local places as we encourage our families, friends and neighbors to sit down at Orlando’s virtual dinner table on social media tomorrow.”

You can find a list of restaurants offering takeout, curbside pickup and delivery at this link. visitorlando.com also has a list. You can also read my recent reviews of takeout cuisine here.

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Old Jailhouse extrior

Add Old Jailhouse Sanford to the list of restaurants that are closed until further notice due to the covid-19 crisis.

Restaurant spokeswoman Geraldine Fowler wrote Monday:

"On behalf of the Jailhouse family, we have come to the decision to close our doors temporarily for the interest of the safety of our team and the community.

We have every intention to resume serving our community once again once restrictions are lifted and we feel it is safe again to do so.

Thank you to our community as well for supporting us through this difficult time.
We appreciate your continuous efforts to support local business.

We look forward to having the pleasure to bring the experience of the jailhouse to you, your friends and family once again in the near future.

Until then, please remember to stay safe and positive!"

Old Jailhouse opened a year ago in a building that at one time had been the Seminole County jail. (More recenlty it had been a dry cleaners and the offices of the health department.) It was voted Best New Restaurant and Best Restaurant Overall in the 2019 Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants.