With Georgia charging the way to reopen restaurant doors, owners and chefs are faced with a complicated question. Do they open or do they remain closed?
The question isn’t an easy one. Owners are faced with a multitude of challenges including safety, staffing, supplies, and sustainability. It isn’t a one size fits all situation and the path to normalcy is unclear.
When speaking with the owner of award-winning the Grey John O. Morisano, there is a feeling of hesitation. Currently, the Grey offers take-out dinner meals out of its sister restaurant the Grey Market, which is set up for grab-and-go options. The Grey Market hopes to increase the frequency and hours of take-out in the near future. When asked about dine-in, Morisano stated that they do not want to rush into anything without a plan to roll out systematically. If the precautionary concerns are removed, there are still issues with employees feeling safe to return, as well as products being available and fiscal responsibility to open. For now, the Grey will stay closed.
In contrast, the Crab Shack on Tybee Island is open for business. With open air seating and a large complex, people are already flocking to the restaurant as a chance to get out. According to the owner Jack Flanigan, the Crab Shack is in a different situation than most restaurant owners as his property allows for spacing and open-air dining. Flanigan reports it’s too early to tell whether this decreased seating will allow for his restaurant to prosper.
After speaking with the president of the tourism board for Visit Savannah, Joseph Marinelli, Visit Savannah is there to support all of Savannah’s restaurants during this time. Each restaurant is asked to provide hours and any protocols they wish to share with visitors and local community members here. Marinelli is optimistic about Savannah’s future.
The timer has started with reopening these small local restaurants and the world is watching how Savannah leads the way into this new reality of dining.