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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PizzaBruno cu

I had ordered one pie from Pizza Bruno, the popular restaurant on Curry Ford Road, but when the staff member came out to place the order in my trunk, she was carrying two boxes. She had gone back inside before I could ask about the double containers.

Concerned that I may have gotten someone else’s order – and worried I didn’t have mine – I pulled over and popped the trunk. The toppings I had requested were scribbled on one of the boxes: sausage, ‘roni, anchovies.

On the other was written, “Sorry! Has hole.”

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Phase1 rocco patio

While fetching takeout on Restaurant Row Tuesday – from The Whiskey; review coming soon – I had the opportunity to observe how some of the other restaurants there were operating under the Phase 1 reopening rules.

Those rules, which went into effect Monday, permit restaurants to allow in-house dining again but only at 25 percent of capacity. What that means isn’t clear, even to restaurant owners. Is it 25 percent of what the fire marshal says is safe occupancy? If so, does that include the number of staff members on duty? Or is it a quarter of the number of tables? Or chairs?

The point may be moot for the time being – it would seem that more than 75 percent of the dining public is still staying home, or availing takeout and delivery.

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Virtualsc zoom room

More than 40 of us got together last Thursday for a Supper Club gathering, but we did it without violating any social distancing guidelines.

We met via Zoom, the online app that allows face to face meetings. Mostly used for businesses and educators to connect remotely, Zoom seemed the perfect platform to use for a food and wine tasting.

And the inaugural event with Soco Thornton Park went quite well.

There were difference from a usual Supper Club. For one thing, attendees had to pick up their food orders at the downtown restaurant on the day of the event. (Some of us within a certain radius of Soco were able to take advantage of the restaurant’s free, staff-provided delivery service.)

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Pulapaka Lion FishHari Pulapaka of Cress welcomes AJ+ host Yara Elmjouie to his DeLand restaurant in a scene from the Beard-nominated video.

Looking for some normalcy, some of the same ol’ same ol’? Just look to the finalists for the James Beard Foundation Awards. They’re as lopsided and irrational as always, which you may find alternately comforting and infuriating.

In a normal years, the winners of the annual awards would have been announced in a gala ceremony in Chicago on Monday – the black-tie festivities have always been scheduled for the Monday closest to the birthday of James Beard.

But the New York-based foundation had put off the announcement of the finalists, which had been scheduled for late March, because of the uncertainty surrounding the stay at home directives.

Recognizing that an in-person awards ceremony is not likely for 2020, JBF decided to use May 4, the date that would have been the thirtieth anniversary of the awards ceremony, to name the finalists and to announce that the restaurant and chef awards will be presented during a live broadcast Friday, Sept. 25, on the Beard Foundation’s Twitter feed. Media awards – cookbooks, television shows, critic reviews – will be announced Wed., May 27.

But back to that normalcy. Central Florida’s chefs were once again snubbed and left off the list of finalists. We had only chance for recognition this year: Henry Moso of Kabooki Sushi was a seminfinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year, a category for notable chefs under the age of 30. Maybe next year, chef. Oops, Moso is 29, so...

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Tap room dining room

Florida restaurants were given the go-ahead to begin reopening to in-house dining beginning Monday. The so-called Phase 1 plan outlined by Gov. Ron DeSantis allows restaurants to again welcome guests through their doors but only at 25 percent of legal capacity to allow for proper separation between diners.

Restaurants may also use outdoor dining space that would be uncounted toward the 25 percent capacity as long as distancing protocols were observed. The Phase 1 rules go into effect for all of Florida except Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. There is no timeline for a Phase 2 or any indication what businesses would be included.

Most Central Florida restaurants appear to be taking a cautious approach to reopening. All are anxious to put their furloughed staff members back on the payroll and to start making money. Though some wonder if a full staff and a return to regular service can be supported by a 25 percent capacity limit.

Ask restaurateurs what 25 percent capacity means and you may get different answers. Some wonder if it means a quarter of what the fire department considers maximum capacity. Some wonder if it means 25 percent of the number of chairs. Or tables. If your capacity is 80 people and you can only have 20 people in the restaurant, does your staff of eight mean you can only serve 12 guests?

Besides the confusion of the guidelines, some owners think it is too soon to allow diners inside at all and continue to be concerned for the safety of their staff members, perhaps with good reason. According to the New York Times, the Trump administration is privately projecting daily COVID-19-related death counts to double during May.

So some restaurant owners plan to keep offering the takeout and delivery service they’ve been learning how to do over the past several weeks.