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How to Support Local Restaurants During COVID-19 Restrictions

26 March 2020

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After the state of Oklahoma required restaurants to close their dining rooms last week and limit service to takeout or delivery only, local restaurant scenes have gone silent. But fear not, many of their kitchens are still cooking.

Local restaurants are feeling the hit of having to close their dining rooms for dine-in service, but you can still get your favorite food and support local businesses. In fact, many local restaurants, coffee shops and even service-based businesses are going above and beyond to keep cooking, deliver meals to their customers and stay in business. 

Many restaurants in Oklahoma City are offering takeout and/or curbside delivery, and most eateries have slashed their prices for takeout to help encourage people to buy meals.

We’ve compiled a list of ways you can find restaurants which are still cooking up delicious meals and deals.

Local eateries and deals 

Many restaurants are offering great deals on takeout or curbside orders, like Birra Birra Pizzeria, which is offering 50% off the entire food menu for takeout and delivery. They are also offering bottled wine and packaged beer for takeout. 

Some restaurants are selling “quarantine meal kits” as a way to provide a service while supporting their business. Whiskey Cake, located in the south parking lot of Penn Square Mall, offers a survival kit that includes whole chickens, six house-made hamburger patties, two sirloins, 24 local eggs, a gallon of milk, six oranges and two rolls of toilet paper for $48. Although employees were furloughed as the business struggles to make enough money to stay in business, if you are picking up a kit from Whiskey Cake, all tips go to the furloughed employees.

In addition, all the items in the Whiskey Cake kit are locally sourced, which helps the local producers who are feeling the financial burden of not being able to sell to restaurants like before.

Rococo’s Restaurant and Bar has special deals through Rococo To Go-Go! Customers can enjoy Rococo food at home, along with adding bottles of wine or beer to any food order. 

The restaurant’s full menu is available for to-go orders, but also offers specific dinner features each night, like crab cakes, slaw and fries for $28 and the Family Seafood Assortment with grilled salmon and arctic char, baked cod and seared scallops served with saffron rice, grilled asparagus and house salad. The whole meal feeds four people for $70.

Sunnyside Diner locations in Oklahoma City have begun offering family-style meals that can be ordered online alongside its regular to-go menu. The meals range from a meatloaf dinner and a classic shepherd’s pie meal to a pancake kit and a pan of six cinnamon rolls with double espresso glaze.

Alfredo’s Mexican Cafe offers 50% off on all curbside orders during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Social Deck & Dining is offering a number of specials, with individual meals running between $5 and $10 and family-style meals which feed two-to-four people running $25-$35.

Miss your favorite coffee shop? Many coffee places like Elemental Coffee and Coffee Slingers are filling that caffeine fix with curbside pickup and to-go orders. In fact, Ellis Island Coffee and Wine Lounge in Edmond is offering a “pay what you can” deal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For a fuller list of restaurants that are currently offering takeout or delivery, check out this article from KFOR.

Is takeout or delivery safe?

In a time when most Americans are told not to eat out or dine in restaurants, many are wondering if they may be exposed to the virus if doing curbside pickup or delivery. 

The good news is most health experts agree that ordering takeaway from your favorite place to eat is safe. There is currently no evidence of food being associated with COVID-19 transmission, according to both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.

Restaurants and retail food establishments are regulated at the state and local level and use rules developed by the FDA to update their own food safety rules. Even during non-quarantine times, FDA-regulated food producers are required to maintain clean facilities, including clean and sanitized food contact surfaces, and to have food safety plans in place.

Both curbside pickup and delivery also help maintain social distancing, which is the best way to “flatten” the number of virus cases, and many delivery companies have instituted “no touch” rules.

Where to find your favorite food

It’s easy to check to see if your favorite place is still serving to-go meals by checking their website or Facebook page. If you are looking for a great round-up of food deals, Keep It Local OK  has a list.

Food delivery services like Grub Hub, DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats are also an option, and each of these services has a website that displays which restaurants are available. 

On Facebook, groups are popping up to help promote local restaurants and to-go services. Show Your To Go! is one of those groups and includes pictures and descriptions of delicious meals.

Why your support matters

Early economic forecasts reveal the industry will sustain at least a $225 billion loss and be forced to eliminate between 5 to 7 million jobs over the next three months, according to the National Restaurant Association

“We are revising our business model to provide meals in different ways, takeout, delivery, safety-enhanced dine-in, but the majority of our restaurants do not have this capability today. As the restrictions continue, we are facing economic headwinds that will lead many restaurants to shut down operations, lay off workers, and end service in our communities,” said Sean Kennedy, the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs.

Now more than ever, it is important to support local small businesses in the OKC metro. While this is a tough time for everyone, it is especially difficult for those small businesses that have had to close their doors to dine-in customers or who have had to furlough employees just to stay afloat. You can do your part just by staying home and ordering some food to go!