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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The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has issued a memorandum that may allow restaurants to use staff members to deliver takeout food.

The memorandum, from commissioner David Altmaier, in part asks for “the removal of exclusions on certain personal auto exclusions.” That segment of the memo from OIR, which was issued Wednesday, reads:

“In furtherance of the state’s efforts to limit large gatherings while remaining open, many restaurants and other businesses are offering delivery of goods and services. As a result, many insureds may be temporarily utilizing their personal automobile for purposes that might otherwise be considered commercial use. Regulated entities are encouraged to consider allowing such use for insureds, provided that such use is limited to the duration of the Emergency Orders.”

Encouraged is the operative word there, not ordered. It will be up to the individual insurance companies to decide if they will to follow the recommendation. In Wisconsin, the governor and insurance commissioner issued an order for insurance companies to cover delivery services for restaurants on personal auto insurance policies, and to offer coverage for those drivers on a restaurant’s general liability insurance.

Florida State representative Ann V. Eskamani told me that the larger insurance companies seem to be more open to allowing the use of personal cars for work than smaller insurers.

On Tuesday I asked restaurant owners if they were using idle staff members, such as servers, to deliver takeout orders. Several said they would like to offer the service – and give the staff the chance to work and earn tips – but they found the insurance rider that would be necessary to cover the drivers too expensive. Most that offer delivery use third party service, such as Uber Eats or Grubhub, which take a significant percentage of the restaurant's charge for the food.

This may be the solution, at least as long as the governor’s executive Emergency Order is in place.

Restaurant owners who want to offer this service should contact their insurance representative.

Restaurateurs: Let me know if you get the go-ahead from your insurance company. And especially let me know if your insurance company declines to follow the OIR’s recommendation.

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Executive Order 3 24 20 copy

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has issued a stay-at-home order that goes into effect Thursday, March 26, at 11 p.m. The order instructs “ all non-essential retail and commercial businesses to close and all residents to stay home from non-essential travel.”

Essentially.

The good news is that restaurants are considered essential businesses and traveling to pickup your takeout order is considered essential travel.

You may also be glad to know that your favorite laundromat is an essential business and you having clean clothes is an essential, nay, necessary thing.

County spokeswoman Kelly Finkelstein sent a link to a list of FAQs with details about other businesses and how the order will be enforced.

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Taptogo bag

Many restaurateurs are new to the wonderful world of takeout and delivery. It takes some rethinking and retooling to do it right. Here are some thoughts to help you adjust:

  • Limit your menu. Don’t try to offer everything from your regular menu. You’re probably working with a streamlined kitchen crew – please help them keep a distance from each other – and supplies might be limited, so focus on the foods you can make efficiently and well. Choose the items that will travel well – keep in mind that hot food placed in closed containers is going to create steam, so breaded items or anything else that should not turn soggy should be left off the takeout menu.
  • Put prices on your takeout menu. No one is going to order without knowing the cost.

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Taptogo bag

In recognition of current social distancing and voluntary isolation, Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide will be focusing on restaurants offering takeout, delivery and curbside pickup. Check here for a continuously updated list of restaurants offering to-go options.

It’s a truism that the enjoyment of food often has to do with the atmosphere in which it is consumed. Food that might be considered just so-so often becomes a sumptuous feast because of the place it’s consumed in and the people with whom it is shared.

So the real test of the quality of a restaurant’s food is how it tastes off premises instead of enjoyed in situ. (Out situ?)

I can attest that the food from Tap Room at Dubsdread is just as good when enjoyed at home as it is in the bustling, clublike atmosphere with dozens of friends stopping by the table to say hello.

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MX Taco carnitas

Mx Taco is the winner of the 2020 Foodster Award for Best Tacos.

Black Rooster Taqueria was voted second and Fuego Tacos was third.

MX Taco opened last year in downtown Orlando’s Milk District and chef and owner Ryan Manning followed up with a second location in Waterford Lakes. As reviewed here and in this Tasting Table episode, Mx Taco features authentic dishes from various regions throughout Mexico, where Manning worked as a chef for Ritz-Carlton.

Black Rooster Taqueria in the Mills 50 district is a previous Foodster Award winner. In placing her vote, Stephanie Wood wrote: “Black Rooster is delicious! The best guacamole I have had locally and tacos are very innovative and delicious. The food here is the closest thing to authentic Mexican food that we have in the Central Florida.”

Taylor Shelby wrote: “Fuego Tacos is the bomb. Tastes like homemade cali-Mexican food.”

Congratulations to all the winners.