*Editor’s note: Due to the unpredictable future of COVID-19 in our community, this RESTAURANT LIST is evolving. As of March 24, this is the most up-to-date information from our sources. We will have this guide available online, so if you do not see your restaurant/bar listed, please email me at email@example.com. Please note, some restaurants that offer “drive-thru” as an option have been notated as “curbside.” Some restaurants’ hours may differ due to the closure of its dining room, so always call ahead first. If you do not see your favorite restaurant listed, it is likely that they have temporarily closed.
However, it is imperative to still support that business so that it doesn’t stay closed. YES! Weekly would like to encourage our readers with the means to support local restaurants and bars in any way possible. Donate to a restaurant/bar’s GoFundMe page, virtually tip your favorite bartenders on Venmo/CashApp/PayPal, etc., and utilize the takeout, curbside and delivery services. If you do not have the funds to help monetarily, give somewhere you love a good review on social media. CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES and tell them to send immediate economic relief to the small business owners and their unemployed staff. But, most of all, be kind, patient and understanding to those who are stressed and hurting around you. We have to have each other’s back through these hard times because we are all in this together!
Necessity is the mother of invention, and many Triad restaurant/bar owners and their displaced employees had to think on their feet this past week. On St. Patrick’s Day, one of the biggest days for bar-hopping in the United States, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the temporary closure of all bars and restaurant dining rooms statewide in response to COVID-19, the infamous and unprecedented health crisis sweeping the nation.
“The closure of bars and restaurants hit a group of people that were especially financially vulnerable,” Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan told YES! Weekly. “Most servers were working paycheck-to-paycheck. Restaurants operate on a thin margin, and our local restaurant owners are some of the most generous people you will ever meet. They contribute their time, talents and food to many nonprofits.”
Vaughan said she spoke with some restaurant owners before the Governor’s decision, and applauded them for their cooperation and resilience.
“What I’ve been most struck by is that there is very little bitterness over the decision to close restaurants and bars,” she said. “I would encourage people to support our local small businesses however they can, and #LeaveABigTip. We need to keep our small businesses solvent.”
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines echoed Vaughan’s sentiment.
“Our small businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, are having a difficult time,” he said. “Please support these restaurants by taking advantage of their carry-out service.”
To help residents of the city that have been economically impacted by COVID-19, Mayor Joines and United Way of Forsyth announced the new COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County on March 18, according to a press release. The release stated that the City of Winston-Salem will match any contribution up to $1 million and that the fund would be administered by United Way and the Winston-Salem Foundation.
To further support the Triad food and beverage industry during this economically devastating time, YES! Weekly with help from the community, has put together a list of locally-owned restaurants offering takeout, delivery and curbside pickup in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point and some surrounding areas.
Maher Said, Nazareth Bread Company
Come November, it will be 10 years since Maher Said opened Nazareth Bread Company at 4507 W. Market St. in Greensboro, and he hopes he can keep his business that long.
Most of his employees are family. “There’s me, my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my two daughters. We are making maybe $400 a day, which for us, is not so much. Yesterday, a good man came in. He asked how we are doing, and when I told him, he bought a $500 gift card.”
He said he absolutely understands Gov.Cooper’s order that restaurants cease all on-site dining. “I feel it is a good thing what they are doing right now in North Carolina, but pray it will be short. We can struggle a week, a month, maybe two. My family in Nazareth and Jordan say they are doing the same, closing schools and restaurants, getting people out of the street. I am praying for the people there and here, for family and friends, and for the world. I would rather lose work than lose a customer forever.”
Angelo Ballas, Grecian Corner
Located at Cloverdale and Eden Terrace, Grecian Corner has been a Winston-Salem culinary landmark for 50 years. Owner Angelo Ballas hopes he can remain open for the next 50 days. But if you catch him crying, it’s not from sadness.
“Gratitude’s brought me to tears,” he told YES! Weekly. “Our community support has been amazing. We have the best customers in all of Winston-Salem.”
Of course, he worries. “It hurts having to cut hours, and the unknown is really eating at me, but our customers and staff keep me going.”
One example of that happened last Thursday. “A lady had sent out a Next Door message to her neighborhood that she’s was going to place a takeout order from us on Friday, and that everybody who wanted something should let her know, as her husband would pick it up and bring it back to her neighbors. So yeah, more tears of gratitude there.”
Although he’s been delivering to the hospital, he’s been leery of doing so to private homes. “But today, we started Chow Now, which offers an option with DoorDash to have it delivered.”
During the six years, this writer spent regularly going to the Wake Forrest Baptist Cancer Center (for successful treatment, then post-treatment check-ups), I stopped at Grecian Corner afterward for the delicious pork souvlaki. The homemade avgolemono soup, moussaka, cranberry-pecan salad and baklava cheesecake are also highly recommended.
Christine Catania, Ice Queen
Last week, Christine Catania was panicking. Besides her ice-cream trucks, Greensboro’s Ice Queen has a brick and mortar location at the coliseum, and she’d just ordered enough supplies for the ACC. “When it was canceled, I was terrified, but now I have more business than I can handle.”
This gratifies but chagrins the young-looking woman with decades of experience in the local food scene, as she knows her friends are hurting.
“I’m just trying to make people happy,” Catania said. “Folks need that right now.”
She shut down for two days, but not for lack of business. “I had to completely restructure to handle demand. With no more public events, I’ve gone to online ordering and delivery of pre-made items. In the past three days, I’ve gotten so much support, and more work than I know what to do with.”
Instead of laying off part-time employees, she’s giving them more work. “Can’t keep up on my own. I have three whole neighborhoods sharing on their social media pages when I’m delivering to selected drop off points. Everybody pays online, every order is made in my truck and then delivered in my car in coolers. Each order is bagged separately, labeled, and I’m taking as many safety precautions as possible.”
She said the inevitable learning curve had gone smoothly.
“People are thanking me for offering this service, and I’m thanking them for wanting it. Everybody is being very flexible, and it’s overwhelming and absolutely wonderful.”
Andrew Kang, Sushi Republic
“So many restaurants are suffering, and I don’t want to see them go under,” said Stacey Dallas as she waited with her daughter Grace for their food pickup outside Sushi Republic on Tate Street last Thursday.
Owner Andrew Kang told YES! Weekly that he’s not laid anyone off.
“Hopefully, we’ll keep all of them.”
Signs direct customers to a waiting area on the patio. “As soon as someone goes there, we’ll meet them outside, take their order, and process payment, if they’ve not already paid on the phone. I myself am temporarily doing a delivery service. We do gift cards. You can even call us and we can send the gift card to your phone.”
His business has fallen off. “On a good day, we’ll be 50% of what we used to do, on a bad day, about 25%.”
Kang has family in South Korea.
“They seem to be handling it pretty well, and the virus appears on the downturn there, as they’re testing everybody because they have actual test kits available.”
He wants to thank everyone who’s supported the restaurant, or any restaurant. “We’re like everyone else, trying to make ends meet and survive while offering the best service we can. I’m hoping that everyone stays safe and that we can come out on the other side and keep things going.”
Rocio Sosa, Los Chico’s
Rocio Sosa, general manager of Los Chico’s, hadn’t been in business long when the crisis hit.
The restaurant had already begun to establish a following in the former Koshary location at 200 S. Elm in Greensboro. The lunch trade was growing, and many praised the huge tortas, which are served Mexican, Cuban, or Milanesa style (the later is like a chicken-fried steak sandwich on fluffy, buttery bread).
Then came COVID-19.
“We had lay off two of our cooks and my waitresses for the coming week. We’ve been trying to work it just as a family.”
That family has been fighting back with ingenuity and good cooking.
“We’re doing takeout, contactless curbside pickup and inhouse delivery for locations in an eight-mile radius from the restaurant. We’ll be working with Grub Hub very soon.”
Besides her regular menu, she’s added three Take & Bake family dinners.
“One is Mexican Lasagna. Another is pans of twelve enchiladas, red sauce or green sauce, and cheese on top, with ground beef or shredded chicken. Both are $24 and feed 4-6. We also have steak and chicken fajitas with peppers, onions, rice, beans and tortillas on the side. Those cost $38 and feed six.”
She’s retained much of her already established clientele and gained some new customers since the crisis started. “We’re very appreciative of the downtown community and of our fellow downtown restaurants, as we’ve all kind of joined in together. Thank you so much to everyone who purchases a meal from us.”
Tu Sen, 98 Bistro
Tu Sen is “staying calm and following the procedures” during this time uncertainty. Sen is the owner of 98 Bistro in High Point, and she said 98 Bistro offers takeout, curbside and free delivery within 5 miles. Sen said she had received a good response and that she is blessed to be apart of a supportive community.
Being Asian-American, Sen said she was a little bit concerned about the hate that might be out there amid this pandemic.
“But I know, with my community, because I have been there so long,” she said. “We don’t have that here.”
Sen is remaining optimistic; she isn’t complaining. In fact, she expresses gratitude for the help and leadership of first responders and government officials.
“I always feel like being in America, we have all been blessed, and no matter what, we can overcome this,” Sen said. “This is the whole world’s problem, and I would be selfish to ask for any help than what people already go through. I pray a lot, and I just hope everybody stays healthy so that we can overcome this.”
“Pray and continue to give love to each other from a distance, everything will be better,” Sen said when asked what she would advise others in her position to do. “We just gonna have to think this through together, and I want to tell everyone thank you for the love and continued support.”
Joe Tappe, Broad Branch Distillery
If any local business is thinking outside of the box during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Winston-Salem’s Broad Branch Distillery. The distillery was included in the Governor’s order to close because it offers tours and tastings. Joe Tappe, a distiller at Broad Branch, said that their closure has definitely impacted the business; however, he said the response to bottle sales have been great. The distillery decided to lend a clean hand to the Winston-Salem community by making hand sanitizer for the public.
“Just like the folks that retooled their car and truck factories to make airplanes during the war, we have retooled ourselves to make hand sanitizer for the public,” Tappe said. “The response has been overwhelming by the community.”
Tappe said Broad Branch is accepting donations for their Whiskey Wash Hand Sanitizer, and the donations will go toward the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Buddy Fund.
“We just wanted to do our part,” he said. “It is just one of those things, you can either sit back and do nothing and worry, or you can get out there and do something. Everyone has a part to play.”