Restaurants around Austin swung open their dining rooms doors to customers for the first time in weeks on May 1, following a proclamation from Texas Gov. Greg Abbot that restaurants could open their dining rooms to 25% capacity.
While hundreds of restaurants chose to remain closed or restricted to takeout and delivery only, dozens opened, serving visitors for the first time since March 16. If you’re venturing out to restaurants, you can expect some regular safety protocols.
The governor’s office released a checklist of "minimum standard health protocols" for restaurants that includes:
• Limits on seating at a table (maximum six people)
• Single-use disposable menus
• Sanitizing directions for employees and work spaces
• Instruction on screening employees and how to handle employees who exhibit illness symptoms
The Texas Department of State Health Services also released a safety checklist for individuals that includes social distancing; self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms; considering face coverings in public; and washing and sanitizing hands. Abbott also said last week that those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus), such as older people, should remain home as much as possible.
Below is a list of restaurants that made the choice to reopen. Know of other local restaurants that will open Friday or soon thereafter? Email email@example.com. [List was last updated on May 13.]
• Andiamo Ristorante: The North Austin Italian restaurant tweeted that it was excited to continue serving guests and prepared to scrupulously follow the directions it received from the state health department. Owner Daniela Marcone tells the American-Statesman that the restaurant is "doing everything possible to be able to reopen on Friday." Their ability to do so will depend on the availability of hand sanitizer dispensers for customers. The decision was made in part based on the livelihood and survival of the business.
"We did not take this decision lightly and will be prioritizing all safety and sanitization protocols to the highest degree," Marcone wrote in an email to the Statesman. "In addition to professionally sanitizing our entire restaurant prior to opening, with air purifier etc., our entire front and back of house staff will be wearing masks and gloves to serve our patrons." (andiamoitaliano.com)
• Baby A’s: The home of purple margaritas has reopened its locations at 13609 I-35 N and 1705 S. Lakeshore Blvd. Those locations are open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Barton Springs Road location remains closed. (babyacapulco.com)
• Bob’s Steak and Chop House: The downtown steakhouse from the Metroplex is open 4:30 to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and reservations are required. In addition, the restaurant is still offering takeout and curbside orders with delivery to select areas. (bobs-steakandchop.com)
• Buenos Aires Cafe: The location of the Argentinian cafe located at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave (13500 Galleria Circle U-120) has reopened. Reservations are available and encouraged, and the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The location in East Austin remains takeout only. (buenosairescafe.com)
• Cafe Java: The cafe in North Austin posted on Facebook that it would reopen its inside dining on a first-come, first-served basis, while following all government instructions. The cafe will also continue with takeout and curbside service. (facebook.com/Cafe-Java-Austin-350473130184)
• Carve American Grille: The sibling to Houston-based Perry’s Steakhouse located on Southwest Parkway had already added meal kits and curbside takeout to its repertoire and is now serving in its dining room and on the expanded patio from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. (carveamericangrille.com)
• Casa Chapala Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar: The Mexican restaurant in North Austin announced on Facebook that it has reopened and posted a promise to guests that includes sanitation and health practices. It teased more details to come. (casachapala.com)
• Cisco’s: The famous spot for migas and biscuits (and now fajitas at night) has reopened at 1511 E. Sixth St. and is serving daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (ciscosaustin.com)
• Cyclone Anaya's Tex-Mex Cantina: The Tex-Mex restaurant at 3120 Palm Way, No. 170, in the Domain has reopened and recommends guests make reservations online (catexmexcantina.com)
• Doc’s Backyard Grill: Goodbye $2 margaritas and curbside takeout, and hello dining room and patio dining. The restaurant at 5207 Brodie Lane has reopened. (eatdrinkdocs.com)
• Dos Salsas: The Tex-Mex restaurant posted on Facebook that dining rooms at all of its locations (North Austin, Cedar Park and Georgetown) would reopen May 1 and be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (dossalsas.com)
• Gino’s Vino Osteria: The Italian restaurant, with locations in Round Rock and the Mueller development, wrote on Facebook that it would reopen both locations May 1 and would comply with "restrictions imposed on Texas restaurants, including social distancing, limit of 25% occupancy, limit of 6 people per table, and other safety restrictions." (ginosvino.com/reservations)
• Grizzelda’s. The Mexican restaurant in East Austin has reopened its dining rooms from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
• Hat Creek Burger Co.: All 9 Central Texas locations of the local burger chain, from Buda to Round Rock, have reopened, including playgrounds, which Hat Creek says it is cleaning three times per day. (hatcreekburgers.com)
• It’s Italian Cucina: The Italian restaurant and wine bar on South Lamar Boulevard announced on its website that it would reopen May 1 and committed to the Texas Restaurant Promise devised by the Texas Restaurant Association. (itsitaliancucina.com)
• Juan in a Million: The legendary Mexican restaurant and morning favorite reopened at 2100 E. Cesar Chavez St. and is operating from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. (juaninamillion.com)
• Lucy’s Fried Chicken: The South Congress Avenue, Burnet Road and Cedar Park locations of chef James Holmes’ fried chicken shack are offering very limited seating (less than 25%) and counter service. (lucysfriedchicken.com)
• Manuel’s: The Great Hills location of Manuel’s, the Mexican restaurant that’s been operating at 10201 Jollyville Road since 1998, reopened May 2 for the first time since dining rooms around the city closed on March 17. The restaurant, which has reinstated all 80 of its furloughed employees after receiving a Paycheck Protection Program loan, is serving lunch and dinner by reservation only in its dining room and on its patio. The restaurant’s shutter led the restaurant to donate more than $25,000 worth of food to employees and the local community.
"We have been through the dotcom crash, the stock market crash, the S&L financial crisis, 9/11 and the Great Recession, but in 36 years Manuel’s has never shut down. After being closed for seven straight weeks, we are looking forward to seeing our customers again," Manuel’s co-owner Jennifer McNevin said in a statement.
Manuel’s ownership said they would consider reopening the flagship Congress Avenue location, which opened in 1984, as soon as office workers and hotel business return.(manuels.com)
• Perry’s Steakhouse Grille: The Domain and downtown locations of the Houston steakhouse are both open. Reservations are recommended and the restaurants are still offering curbside to-go service. (perrysteakhouse.com)
• Plucker’s: The fried chicken and wing chain based in Austin has reopened all of its Texas locations. In addition to the safety measures suggested by the government, Plucker’s is checking the temperature of all employees and guests before they can enter the restaurant and installing sneeze guards at host stands. (pluckers.com)
• Reunión 19: The East Austin taqueria from "Final Table" star Esdras Ochoa of Los Angeles announced through a rep that it was opening May 1 and following designated restrictions to create "the safest possible environment for our staff and customers." (reunion19atx.com)
• Rudys BBQ and Mighty Fine Burgers: The restaurants announced through a rep that they would reopen May 1 and will "continue to have precautionary measures in place to keep our guests and team members safe while delighting them with our food and Texas Hospitality." They will also continue to offer takeout, online ordering for curbside pickup and delivery by DoorDash. (rudysbbq.com and mightyfineburgers.com)
• Terry Black’s Barbecue: The barbecue restaurant from the fourth-generation scions of the legendary Lockhart barbecue family is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1003 Barton Springs Road. (terryblacksbbq.com)
• Trulucks. Both the Arboretum and downtown locations of the steakhouse reopened their dining rooms on May 19. The restaurant will be at 25% capacity until Friday, when it will shift to 50%. The locations are also offering carry-out and curbside service. Safety measures include staff in masks and gloves; single-use menus; daily health screenings for employees; additional hand sanitizer stations; and routine deep cleaning by professional sanitation service. Both locations are open 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
• III Forks. The location of the chain steakhouse at 111 Lavaca St. has reopened and is seating for dinner by reservation only. (3forks.com)
• Z’Tejas: The Southwestern restaurant has opened its locations on West Sixth Street and at the Arboretum. (ztejas.com)
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