The governor’s announcement that dining in restaurants was forbidden hit Louisville like a bad case of food poisoning.
No one expected it. No one wanted it. We are all waiting for it to end. What would become of all the restaurants if they could not serve food? What would become of the legions of chefs, line cooks, servers, dish washers and all the others if they could not serve food? What would happen to the rest of us if we could not get our fix of Green Chili Wontons from the Bristol or that late-night burrito from New Wave?
In a city that identifies itself proudly as an emerging foodie destination, this has been cataclysmic. But, also in a city that prides itself on innovation and reinvention, the food culture quickly came up with solutions:
—Hastily created carryout and delivery services, complete with latex-gloved deliveries to you curbside. (W.W. Cousins built a drive-through and posted photos of it online! “We have been working around the clock at WW.Cousins to make our drive-thru like our buns, homemade!” it announced on Facebook.)
—Special meals, some with discounts and some that are designed to feed entire families. Food you would never suspect could be taken out… are, such as Melting Pot To-Go fondue from The Melting Pot of Louisville.
—The LEE Initiative, founded by Chef Ed Lee, our James Beard Award-winning star chef, and managing director Lindsey Ofcacek, stepped up to help restaurant workers who now are jobless. With Maker’s Mark and Lee’s restaurant 610 Magnolia at 610 W. Magnolia Ave., the LEE Initiative is offering to-go dinners for service industry workers. Donate and learn more here: leeinitiative.org
Gov. Andy “Calm Hand on The Wheel” Beshear also gave restaurants a boost by issuing an executive order that rejiggered, so to speak, alcohol licenses so that an on-premise license holder can sell alcohol off premises. You know, to-go bottles of wine and beer and cocktail kits.
Of course, all of us, hunkered down in our houses with cans of tuna and mystery meat defrosting, have been loving this. But, we also have been loving our restaurants by giving them business until we all can get through this — together.
Check out Kathryn Harrington’s photos.