"It just seemed so lifeless and dark," said part-owner Nick Hawthorne-Johnson. "It was very hard to watch. Very hard to be in."
Some great news for Durham diners who have been missing out on @DashiRamen. The restaurant is reopening this evening at 5 for takeout and outdoor dining. Final touches are being made as I type this. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/0KaGa05Izz— DeJuan Hoggard (@DeJuanABC11) September 28, 2020
Because of the pandemic, Dashi closed in March and its doors have been shuttered ever since.
"I think everyone on the team is excited to get back to it and be able to feed our city again," Hawthorne-Jackson said.
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Once owners were approved for an outdoor dining permit from the City of Durham, plans were put in place to once again welcome guests back. At the corner of East Chapel Hill and North Mangum, an outdoor dining experience blocks drivers from turning onto Chapel Hill, effectively making it a one-way street.
Ahead of the restaurant's opening Monday evening, the outdoor space was cleared to make way for tables to be placed outside; which Hawthorne-Johnson expects to sit around 30 people.
"This isn't normally what we do. So we have to learn a whole new thing," he said. "We want everyone who comes to eat with us to have an awesome time."
Guests will have the option of ordering a takeout meal from the restaurant window and offered a seat to dine.
Hawthorne-Johnson said city staff approved their outdoor dining permit for six months or until the restaurant is back to 100% capacity, whichever is greater.