Triangle restaurants, customers adjust to Phase Two requirements

Phase Two of North Carolina's reopening after coronavirus concerns caused shutdowns has pluses and minuses, according to people in the restaurant industry who spoke with ABC11.

Some, like Bolricua Soul in Durham, stayed alive with curbside service and to go items available through online or phone orders.

Owner Toriano Fredricks still can't welcome customers inside his business while Mayor Steve Schewel delays implementation of Phase Two due to safety concerns.

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"Starting on Friday here in Durham, we can have people inside our space at 50 percent capacity. For us, if you look at the space it's very small."

Too small to successfully separate tables by the recommended six feet for social distancing, he said. Still, because of steady takeout orders, "It has grown for us. Obviously we're down a huge percent from where we should be now, but we're just thankful that we've had the ability to keep something open."
Luis Martinez of Makus Empanadas in Raleigh appreciates those curbside customers too, after weeks when his was one of the few business still up and running inside the Morgan Street Food Hall.

"Yeah. We made enough money, thank God, to keep all our employees," he said. "We donated a lot of empanadas. We've been donating a lot to hospitals."

Now Martinez is one of many restaurant workers planning for what they hope is a pent up demand for dining out.


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"We were closed, so it looked pretty dead inside the food hall," he said. "And we were only doing takeout. But it looks like tomorrow there'll be more vendors. By the end of next week I think pretty much 80 percent of the food hall will be open."
There's plenty of seating available inside the Lucky Tree coffee shop in Raleigh, but barista Keliy Grobbelaar said they can't serve their usual capacity crowd during Phase Two.

"Yeah, we're only allowed 28 customers to sit at a time. So we have to check, make sure there's only that amount of people. That they're staying apart and then, constantly keeping the place clean," she said.

Toriano Fredericks said while he'll take advantage of seating outside Boricua Soul's American Tobacco location, "We're pretty sure come Friday, we're still not going to let people inside the space. We don't think that we can really make that happen in a safe and financially viable way. "

So depending upon your choice of restaurants, you may have to adjust to the new normal of fewer tables and limited indoor access.
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