The Bay Area has always been known as a culinary hub, owing to its multicultural community. Any kind of dining spot imaginable can be discovered here, from New American cocktail bars to eclectic restaurants featuring the finest cuisine from various parts of the world.
When COVID-19 forced a change in the way food spots operate, the Bay Area’s restaurant industry remained as creative and resilient as ever. From quaint cafes to h igh-end restaurants in San Francisco, all have taken the necessary steps to adapt to the situation and bring back classic favorites and new gastronomic treats to both long-time patrons and adventurous foodies.
Here are new protocols you can expect to find in most dining spots in the Bay Area:
Dine in — outdoors
Outdoor seating and curbside pickup have become the norm as these assure a lower risk of transmission and better ventilation. Even food establishments that were originally indoor-only now have al fresco dining. Sidewalks, parking spaces, and plazas have been transformed into outdoor dining spaces.
The Spinster Sisters in Santa Rosa transformed their garden patio into a colorful outdoor dining area. With enough space for around 60 guests, the patio provides a refreshing setting for a light lunch or a couple of afternoon drinks. The restaurant also came up with an ingenious system that makes it easy to identify which tables have been sanitized: tables with a green card are ready for seating, while those with a red one indicate unavailability.
Proper mask and distancing etiquette
Until their food and drinks arrive at their tables, customers are required to wear their face coverings inside restaurants, including every moment they get up from their seats.
As per state guidelines, tables must also be kept six feet away from each other or separated by physical barriers if the restaurant has spatial limitations. Dining areas have also been reconfigured to ensure a smooth flow of human traffic.
At just 400 square feet, the intimate North Light bar put up transparent barriers in the middle of tables arranged on their wooden patio for their guests’ safety. A variety of cocktails, food, and even an assortment of books and vinyl records can be safely enjoyed in this cozy Oakland location.
Reservations are recommended
Some establishments welcome walk-in guests, but making table reservations is highly encouraged to ensure that the restaurant does not exceed the allowed capacity for gatherings in public places. This also allows the restaurant management to convey their guidelines and make the proper preparations in anticipation of the guests’ arrival.
The popular San Francisco rooftop lounge Charmaine’s — where finding an available spot inside was already a challenge pre-pandemic — has reopened as a strictly reservation-only space. At 25% capacity, every reservation has a two-hour seating time. But once you’re in, you cannot deny the thrill of being seated 120 feet-high above Market Street while sipping your favorite cocktail and admiring the spectacular view.
Standard healthcare measures and screenings
Like any other public space, restaurants are required to conduct mandatory temperature checks for both guests and employees upon entering. For safety, any individual who displays any COVID-19 symptoms will be advised to stay home.
Restaurant staff have also been trained to ensure that the surfaces, especially those in high-touch and high-traffic areas, are frequently sterilized. Hand sanitizers, clean running water, and hand soap are also accessible for guests and employees’ use.
Unlike before, tables are no longer pre-set. Instead, guests will be receiving their sanitized glassware and cutlery upon seating to ensure cleanliness.
One of the most assuring commitments to guest safety comes from the Michelin-starred The French Laundry in Yountville. Their website thoroughly details the restaurant’s efforts to offer a safe, comfortable, and delightful dining experience. Also, the equal emphasis on high-quality French cuisine and exemplary guest service makes this restaurant a must-visit.
Most restaurants today offer either single-use or QR code menus to reduce the risk of transmission through contact. Quince, a Michelin-starred contemporary Californian restaurant, takes this social distancing requirement into an opportunity. In lieu of reopening their Jackson Square restaurant, Lindsay and Chef Michael Tusk decided to temporarily relocate their restaurant to Marin County. Here, diners can enjoy both country air and their seasonal multi-course menu at either the Fresh Run Farm or in McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma.
For more insights into the food scene and other local information about the Bay Area, you can rely on the expertise of Nina Hatvany and the real estate experts of Team Hatvany. Contact the team by calling 415.710.6462 or writing to team(at)teamhatvany(dotted)com.