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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Zaza togo replate

Zaza New Cuban Diner has set up a nifty online ordering system for effortless and contactless takeout, at least to a point, but we’ll come back to that.

Zaza has four locations – Curry Ford Road, Waterford Lakes, Altamonte Springs and Lake Mary – so it’s a good choice for a large audience. And if you’ve tried Zaza before, you know that the food is good.

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Bravo exterior

FoodFirst Global Restaurants, the Orlando headquartered parent company of Italian restaurant chains Brio and Bravo, filed last week for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

According to several sources, the company had been struggling with reduced sales and lower profits prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The forced closures of most of the restaurants that were still in operation now brings into question how many of them will fully reopen when the mandate is lifted. Several, including the Brio at Mall at Millenia, are still open for curbside pickup during the pandemic.

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Tornatore togo tent

Tornatore’s, the College Park pizzeria and Italian cafe, was one of the first restaurants to use staff members to deliver food when restaurants were ordered to shut down dine-in operations. I appreciated that they seemingly adapted effortlessly.

I wanted to order takeout – I hadn’t had a chance to visit the restaurant before the lockdown to try newly hired chef Jason Wolfe’s food – but unfortunately my house falls a couple of miles outside the six-mile delivery radius.

So instead I phoned in my order for curbside pickup. I wish I had looked a little closer at the restaurant’s website because it has a nifty online ordering interface that would have made the process a lot smoother, even when it comes to the tip, which can be added at checkout.

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4R You copy

There was a television ad several years ago – I don’t recall what it was for, which is not a good thing for an advertisement – that mused in a futuristic way that a retail space could adapt throughout the day to serve different clientele. As I recall, the shop was a clothing store during the day, then in the evening the display shelves would slide away and tables and chairs would flip out of the walls. Then suddenly it was a restaurant for the night.

I’ve been thinking about that ad as I see restaurants trying to adapt and change to meet the needs of their customers. Many, we’ve seen, have had to switch from dine-in operations to strictly takeout and delivery. That’s not as easy as you’d think, but many are adjusting just fine, as you can see from my recent reviews of Takeout Cuisine.

Something else that’s being tried by some is to offer market goods as part of their takeout menu. Not exactly a full general store, but items that might come in handy.

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First Watch ext

First Watch, the chain of daytime cafes, is temporarily closing all of its corporate owned restaurants, including all Central Florida locations, beginning Monday, April 13.

In a letter posted Saturday on the company’s website, the CEO, Chris Tomasso, said the decision was made to protect the workers who have continued to offer food for takeout and delivery. “Our people are our most important asset, and their physical safety and health, as well as their mental wellbeing, are always our priority,” Tomasso wrote. “I carry that responsibility, and it is not something I take lightly.”

The closings impact approximately 400 Central Florida workers spread among the area’s 17 locations, according to company spokeswoman Gina Merianos. All remaining staff will be furloughed beginning Monday. But Tomasso notes in his letter that the company will continue to pay health benefits for the workers who were on the company’s health plan. And if any of them become ill with covid-19, First Watch will pay all fees associated with treatment.

“ We’ve also invested in telemedicine benefits for every First Watch employee and their family, at no cost to them,” Tomasso said in his letter, “so all have access to medical professionals who can diagnose, authorize testing and even prescribe medications.”

“This was not a financial decision,” Merianos said in a phone call Saturday afternoon. She said the restaurants that remained open had been doing good business with takeout and delivery, though most restaurants were operating with only a few workers. Still, cooks were together in the kitchen and some guests were coming into the restaurants to pick up orders. Closing the doors, she said, was the only way to assure adherence to social distancing strictures.

First Watch is a Sarasota based company with 375 locations in 29 states employing 6,000 people. Merianos said some franchise locations have made the decision to stay open, but none are in Central Florida.