Restaurants are slowly and tentatively opening their doors again. They’re geared up with sanitiser, have socially-distanced their tables and are ready for their first weekend service since the beginning of lockdown.
This first week has been a slow and cautious learning experience for the industry, but our favourite bistros, cafés and culinary gems have been showing courage and care when it comes to welcoming and serving their customers once more.
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The team at Fábrica in Sunningdale, Durban, is looking forward to serving sit-down meals and coffee to familiar faces this weekend. “Having had our restaurant closed for sit-down for so long is like learning everything again, but we have all our protocols in place to ensure our customers feel safe,” says owner Tome De Carvalho. The coffee shop will have table talkers on every table (spread 1.5m apart) with QR codes to download the menu. “We are ready for our customers,” Tome ensures.
La Colombe, South Africa’s current number one restaurant, is taking things slowly, but the team is ready for the challenge: “We’re having to rethink the way we do a few things to be able to offer the same standard of food and service,” says head chef James Gaag. “It’s different (for us) but hopefully it will still be an exceptional experience for our guests!” The team is also continuing with takeaways, with the La Colombe waiters delivering around the Cape Peninsula. “I’m happy that we are able to involve most of our staff again to help everyone stay afloat during this time,” adds James.
Other restaurants are laying low or waiting for regulations to ease. Jackie Cameron of Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine is taking time to focus on her students, getting through their practical course material, before opening up a cosy brunch restaurant again. “My students come first,” explains Jackie, who is also continuing to do tremendous work with them to help feed those in need.
The team at Shoots and Leaves in Umhlanga is eager to continue innovating their small business during this time. “We are grateful to be able to be back doing what we love – interacting with and being of service to our customer base, as well as introducing a new line of supply and demand, our online store, which we will be continuing. We stand ready for new challenges and look forward to creating our own new normal, appreciating our new client base, and integrating our past clientele, without whose support we would not manage,” says owner and chef Rob Colepeper.
In Jozi, Lexi’s has not let the pandemic slow them down. The team has been cooking up a storm with their takeaway meals and is now ready to welcome patrons back into their sunny space. The Sandton, Rosebank and Modderfontein stores are now at the ready with sanitisers, masks, disposable menus and even a cheaper budget-friendly menu available. Also exciting is their Pretoria branch, which is coming soon.
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Loved café franchise Tashas is delighted to reopen its locations across the country. “We have had a chance to reflect and re-evaluate our already wonderful Tashas brand. It’s time to simplify and focus on what matters most. We are immensely grateful for our guests’ continued support and look forward to welcoming them back again to their home away from home,” says founder and creative director of the Tashas Group, Natasha Sideris.
So, if you’re up for it, pop into your favourite restaurant this weekend – they’ve missed us just as much as we’ve missed them.