Restaurants Now in Post-Pandemic Mode
Times are tough in the restaurant industry, and it couldn’t have been more obvious to me this week. After searching a bit to find a restaurant open for dinner on Monday, we decided to go to Mecklenburg Gardens. It had been years since we had visited this historic treasure in Corryville, and I had been craving German food. When we arrived, we found the doors locked and another couple standing on the street as confused as we were. After calling the restaurant, we learned from the recording that they would reopen on Friday.
Disappointed, we decided to switch gears and head downtown to Nada. We could see plenty of open tables and started looking forward to Latin-inspired food. However, the hostess apologized when she found out we didn’t have a reservation. They wouldn’t be able to seat us until much later in the evening.
Again we returned to the car and started checking Yelp and Facebook to see which restaurants might be open. A few of our favorites that we would typically choose were no longer open on Mondays. A call to Blinkers Tavern in Covington yielded the same results. No open seating available.
There are several lessons in the story. First, always call ahead and make a reservation even on a slow-traffic day like a Monday. Second, be patient with restaurant staff as we all try to ease out of the pandemic. Owners are anxious to expand hours and capacity, but they are unable to do it without the cooks, servers, and dishwashers they are trying to hire. Third, tip your servers generously. Most of them are working like crazy to help the restaurant keep the doors open.
The good news was we ended up at Molly Malone’s in Covington. Service was excellent and the food was even better.
Note: As we move into the post-pandemic world, Cincinnati Food Tours will continue to support and respect our small business partners. Some tours will still feature picnics and outside dining. Others will visit larger restaurants that are staffed to handle our groups. We exist to support our tour partners and will do our best to help them operate smoothly.