Some restaurants go over to takeaway for New Year’s Eve

Few people are as ready to say goodbye to 2021 as those in the restaurant industry, and some establishments have taken the extra step of choosing to only depart for what is typically one of the biggest nights of the year.

Emily Ienzi, co-owner of two six {ate} in Little Italy, said the decision came after a week of cancellations and after seeing the number of cases increase in Ottawa.

“Every restaurateur I talk to is a little on edge, their staff is nervous and we are nervous. It’s not a pleasant feeling to go to work and feel scared,” she said.

Ienzi said the small restaurant just could not accommodate New Year’s parties safely given Omicron’s increased portability.

The option to take home is sold out in the meantime, Ienzi said – with 90 orders set to go out on December 31 – even though it does not include the same kind of alcohol consumption that comes with a typical New Year’s Eve.

“It has certainly been a tough December. Not the December we were hoping for,” Ienzi said.

Brassica co-owner Maggie von zur-Muehlen said that seeing that Ottawa’s case numbers broke records, the team had sought to adapt in front of the basket – they have sold out their special takeaway menu.

“Instead of being told we had to shut down, we would somehow make the decision to shut down and thus not waste a lot of food and restructure what we offer to take out,” von zur said. -Muehlen.

“There was more of a sense of gratitude that we were trying to keep everyone safe.”

Some dining rooms are still open

Even restaurants that offer your guests a personal experience have had to turn down the festivities as people cancel reservations at the last minute.

“We’re just making our regular menu, takeaway, deliveries and people wanting to get in – it’s a safe place to get in,” said Joe Thottungal, chef and owner at Thali.

Thali chef and owner Joe Thottungal, shown here in 2019, said the recent cancellations at the last minute have made him scrap the plans for a special New Year’s menu, but he will open his dining room according to public health guidelines. (Evan Bergstra)

New Year’s Eve is an important day in the calendar for restaurant owners, Thottungal said, especially ahead of a seasonal drop in business in January.

“This is one of the best dates we should have,” he said.

Fairouz Cafe in ByWard Market encourages people to choose takeaway, they will offer their New Year’s Eve menu for two groups of about 20 customers, which will sit according to public health protocols on 31 December.

Co-owner Tony Garcia said the closure in recent days gave the restaurant time to adjust to reduce capacity and accommodate people with health problems who did not feel safe serving customers.

“There were a lot of nerves the last few weeks. The end of the Christmas holidays somehow gave people an opportunity to step back,” Garcia said.

Fairouz Café in ByWard Market said it encourages people to order takeaway, but it offers limited dining space for New Year’s Eve. (Kevin Belanger)

Garcia said staying open gives people in need of work the opportunity to do so at an important time of year.

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