As Southern Nevada restaurants and bars face another month of limitation to 25% capacity, owners and managers are coming up with creative ways to add square footage and deliver services to suit a business. cautious pandemic audience, while dealing with mandatory reservations and limited tables. to four people.
This has not been easy.
“I was 55 and now I’m 91,” joked Peggy Orth, general manager of Peppermill on the Strip.
James Trees, chef / owner of Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District, was particularly creative. This week, Trees added eight cabin-style structures, with flooring, to the parking lot behind the restaurant. They are arranged around a square of artificial grass surmounted by a fireplace. The structures are in fact mobile greenhouses, each with its own lighting, sound system and heating.
On Thursday evening, Hash House A Go Go will launch the Hash House 2 Go Go food truck on the chain’s site at 6800 W. Sahara Ave. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. he will be joined by food trucks El Tamalucas and Nick’s Shrimp House and maybe more. Hash House 2 Go Go will offer a free purchase on all menu items and national beers for $ 1.50.
Jim Rees, co-owner of the company’s five (soon to be six) locations in southern Nevada, said officials were considering launching a food truck before the pandemic struck due to the popularity of its fried chicken and the possibility of entering the chicken. wars.
âWhen it hit it was all the more reason to throw it as fast as we could,â Rees said. While Trees said it had to get permission from its owner before launching the parking lot operation, Rees said the company owns the property, which made things easier. And since the restaurant currently serves dinner only on Fridays and Saturdays, the land would be empty. If this goes well, they plan to make it a regular Thursday event, starting in January.
Many restaurants have also expanded their take-out services, including Trees at Esther’s Kitchen. He recently created take-out versions of two pasta dishes and is working with vendors to achieve packaging that will allow take-out orders to stay fresher on the trip.
Via Brasil on Fort Apache Road recently introduced online ordering and curbside pickup from its a la carte menu, and co-owner Anna Gomes said the restaurant is offering 20% ââoff online orders with the code. promotional “curbside”.
In August, Asian fusion restaurant Graffiti Bao began offering pizza and sandwiches at its ghost kitchen, Gemma Gemma’s. Last month, the Lazy Dog chain launched a virtual concept called Jolene’s that offers wings and beer to pick up and deliver from locations across the country, including two in the Valley. And Summerlin’s La Strega recently started selling Italian piadine flatbread sandwiches from a sidewalk stand next to the restaurant.
âWe have a little more careful clientele here, with the corona and all,â said Gina Marinelli, chef / partner of La Strega. âSo for them to come and get contactless piadines, salads, spritzes and things to take home, or go to the park, or whatever – we’ve created something really special. and safe for them. “
And sometimes innovation means contracting instead of expanding. With limited hours at most of its restaurants, Rees said Hash House A Go Go has reduced its menu from eight pages to one double-sided sheet for food and one for drinks. Part of this is to convert the menu to a single-use, disposable page, but also focuses on signature items that can be prepared with less staff. Rees said the reduced menu received very little negative feedback from customers.
This has certainly not been the case with state reservation warrants, especially in restaurants that do not normally accept reservations.
âIt’s not easy to do, for sure,â Orth said. âWe are working on it and we are improving. It’s the people who come in wholeheartedly who are tough. It’s money coming out the door.
She said she was not swayed by customers who said other restaurants were not following the practice.
âI’m doing what I need to do to protect my boss’s business,â she said.
âIt discourages people from coming,â Rees said. “That’s really the big part.”
Juan Vazquez, owner of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas on West Tropicana Avenue and in downtown Henderson, had a lot of pushback in the first few days after it reopened from people who weren’t used to making reservations. Now he has the reservations only policy listed on his website and posted on the door along with the phone number; those who try to enter can call and, if there is room, they will be seated.
The requirement also applies to bars, such as the Sand Dollar Lounge on Spring Mountain Road.
âI don’t know what the others are doing,â said co-owner Benito Martinez. “I feel like people are surprised when we mention it.”
But he said it dovetailed well with the bar’s plans to require reservations anyway for the second annual Miracle on Spring Mountain event, which takes place this month, when the place is particularly busy.
âSome will come to the door and say, ‘Why can’t I just sit at the bar? “He said.” We just tell them to go out and go to OpenTable on their phones and wait in their cars. “He said they also don’t allow people to congregate there. outside, which is the philosophy behind the no-entry rule.
They also limit people to an hour and 15 minutes during Miracle on Spring Mountain, which he says is particularly offensive to longtime regulars.
âThey are there for the community aspect, which we are trying to eliminate at this point,â he said.
Orth and Rees said the limit of four people per table can be an issue, especially with two parents with three children, who have to split into two tables.
âIf they don’t know it, it puts us in an awkward position,â Rees said. “And if they know it, it discourages them from bringing their families over. We’re a big brunch restaurant and usually have a lot of big tables.”
Trees said more creativity would be needed in the coming months. Even if 50% of the capacity is restored, it doesn’t pay the bills, he said.
âSo we still need more ideas, which causes us to push ourselves in a way that will make us more innovative over the next few months,â he said.
âI love the creativity in the community,â Marinelli said. âEveryone thinks outside the box, and that’s what chefs are really good at. “