Chef Iliana de la Vega decided she couldn’t wait any longer. The former James Beard semifinalist had kept her Oaxacan-inspired restaurant El Naranjo at 2217 S. Lamar Blvd. in South Austin closed for both dine-in and takeout since March 17, but on the day capacity limits were raised to 50%, she said she would reopen her dining room the day after Tuesday. But not without considerable trepidation.
"I’m scared to be honest. There are not too many options we have right now, we had to open," said De La Vega, who added that she may seat a little less than 50% capacity.
The Mexico City native. who consulted with her staff before making decisions about opening, said they have added take-out service to complement the business from dine-in service and will take things day by day.
"We don’t know if the people will even want to come out to restaurants," De La Vega said. "It’s overwhelming. That’s the scary part, that you are in unknown territory."
Del la Vega joins other top restaurants in the city like Uchi, Hestia and Juniper that have decided to reopen at limited capacity.
El Naranjo is open 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, with seatings from 5 to 6 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., and is serving takeout 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.