Most Space Coast Restaurants Back in Business, Unfortunately Some May Never Reopen
By Peter Cranis, Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director // May 3, 2020
Most Space Coast restaurants are chomping at the bit to receive guests again
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Before COVID-19 people took for granted they could go dine out any time they wanted. The pandemic has certainly reoriented all of us to a new reality. But, soon we will once again be able to enjoy our favorite local restaurants. Unfortunately, some of those may never reopen.
But those that are left are chomping at the bit to receive guests again – even if they have to keep their capacity at 25 percent.
Others may wait until the Governor goes into Phase 2 of his reopening business plan and allows restaurants to fill 50percent of their capacity.
So good restaurants always make delivering their product look easy. We don’t think twice about how difficult it is to be consistent with recipes and making dishes over and over again at a high-quality level.
Think about the last time you cooked something simple like eggs – did it look like the time before, taste exactly the same?
We often underestimate chefs and their abilities and further don’t give consideration to everything that had to be done behind the scenes to provide great meals night after night.
From ordering the ingredients to training staff, hours of sweat and tears go into opening a restaurant – and more importantly, keeping it open.
At Longdoggers, which has six locations around the Space Coast, they will be opening starting May 5 to guests. They have outdoor seating which will be six feet apart per the guidelines and inside they will seat 25 percent of their capacity to begin with.
According to Rob Doyle, General Manager of the Cocoa Beach location, they will only have napkins on the tables and then use QR codes you can take a picture of with a phone and it will link to their food and drink menus.
They have areas already set up for parties to wait for seating – 6 feet apart from other parties.
“There may be some people who aren’t comfortable going out, so we don’t want to lose focus on the take out as well,” Doyle said. “But we’re excited to get back to having guests in our restaurants again.”
Fat Kahunas in Cocoa Beach will be reopening May 7. Dewey Siljestrom, Owner/Chef says they will follow the 25 percent capacity inside and have two tables outdoors.
“We haven’t done take out before, but with only being at 25 percent, we’re going to kick up the To Go’s,” Siljestrom said.
Their dining menu will be at regular price, but they will give a 25 percent discount on take out and also offer free delivery. When they open, they will bring back every one of their employees.
“My team is super excited. This is our eighth year in business and talking to our Facebook fan club, we will be bringing back some special favorites from the past for take out only.”
Some of those favorites include pulled pork and a half-pound Angus burger. Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant in Titusville is a well-known favorite of locals and tourists alike.
They have a target opening date of May 18 according to co-owner Laurilee Thompson.
“Because we want to give it a week or so to let it level out and see what’s going to happen, see how others do first,” Thompson said.
“We make our soups, sauces and desserts from scratch and process our locally-caught shrimp on-site so it’s going to take us a week or so to train the staff, clean the restaurant again and get it ready to open.”
They are also conscious of social distancing requirements and are going to paper menus.
“There’s all these things we’ve had to figure out, for instance, we have to go to single-use condiments. There are a lot of logistics that go into it.”
Thompson is also concerned about locating all of her employees because some of them moved back with parents or left town. She is happy though that they will be able to bring some of her staff back now and then bring others back in phases.
“Finding the employees is going to be a challenge, it’s not like you can turn on the light switch.”
Let’s hope though, for all of us restaurant fans, that once the lights turn on, they will stay on so we can enjoy the fantastic food they are known to deliver on the Space Coast.
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