In this time of uncertainty, many restaurants have turned to takeout and delivery as a way to keep staff employed, while still feeding guests as safely as possible. We've been stopping by restaurants we've profiled in the past, to see how they're adapting to this new reality. We're calling it Takeout Check-In.
Eight Row in Greenlake is an acclaimed restaurant serving the flavors of Central Washington.
"Hospitality [workers] are a scrappy bunch. We've decided to change our model and do takeout Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am - 8 pm. The community has reacted really well to us," said chef/co-owner David Nichols. "We have been blessed to have the community behind us. Things have been, I don't want to say great, but they've been good so far."
The centerpiece of Nichols takeout menu is the Isolation Essentials Meal. Available for no-contact pickup, it features three things most folks love: tacos, pie and wine.
"We love tacos, we love pie. I don't drink, but a lot of people love wine," said Nichols. "When we put those things together we just though those top three things are what make Eight Row."
The team noticed that in the last couple days before social isolation, people were still coming to the restaurant - and this is what they were ordering most.
"Comfort food, things that made them feel good, made them feel at-home again," said general manager Kate Willman. "So when we were curating the to-go menu it just made sense to put these things on there and make people feel comfortable."
In order to keep the restaurant open, Nichols was forced to layoff most of his staff. Now he's running Eight Row with help from his brother Ian, Willman and other family members. During our visit, Nichols' mom was in the back helping to wash dishes. Yet, in the midst of an exceedingly difficult time, he and Kate Willman were able to celebrate a personal milestone.
"Kate and I got engaged about two weeks ago," said Nichols with a big smile. "We took a trip down to the Oregon coast and while we were there, I proposed to this beautiful woman and she said 'yes'. So there is a great thing that's coming out of this and I still believe great things are going to come out of these hard times right now."
"We were very lucky to be together for a week, especially before all of this, and just take a pause and recognize that there are still things that are happening that are positive and beautiful. And amidst all the scary, uncontrollable chaos, we still have each other," said Willman.
For now, the couple is working hard to make sure Eight Row is ready to re-open its dining room and welcome staff back as soon as it's safe. Their message: continue to support your local restaurants however you can.
"The fabric of Seattle is made up of these small businesses and restaurants and these great chefs, restauranteurs, bakers and servers. We don't want to see that go," said Nichols. "All these restaurants are trying to get by. Just be patient with all of them and know that we are working extremely hard to try to get through this. All we ask is you continue to support your local businesses right now."
One of the easiest ways to support? Picking up some tacos, wine and pie (it's David's grandma's recipe). I can tell you firsthand, it makes isolation a little more enjoyable.