coronavirus

Customers Crowd in for Restaurants' First Friday Back in Business

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Restaurants across North Texas re-opened Friday for dine-in service for the first time in seven weeks to rave reviews from customers wary of eating at home.

At Beto and Son in Dallas’ Trinity Groves development, tables were spaced six feet apart and servers were wearing both masks and gloves as they reopened their doors mid-day Friday.

“A whole lot has changed,” said co-owner and chef Julian Rodarte.

Within an hour, he said they’d reached the 25% capacity allowed.

“As soon as we opened the doors, we had guests that have been coming here since day one that were teary eyed like, ‘we’re so glad you’re still here’,” said Rodarte.

Lauren Dibble said she came to enjoy the weather and support local business with caution.

“I don’t think there’s any way to be 100% clear and out of a danger zone, but I think everyone’s taking the appropriate measures to protect each other and to protect the economy as well,” said Lauren Dibble.

It also protects Rodarte’s employees, which is why he said he made the decision to reopen.

“We have 25% of the revenue and 100% of the costs so we’re not making a dime as owners. We’re pretty much putting everything back into the pockets of our staff’s family,” said Rodarte.

In Fort Worth, restaurants like the iconic Joe T. Garcia's were packed with customers.

"It's been very challenging for all of us," owner Joe Lancarte said of the past several weeks.

He said the restaurant was taking every precaution, from staff wearing gloves and masks to checking customers' temperatures at the door.

Joe T's also limited service to about 15 percent to reduce the risk even further.

Britany Bleistein and her husband Jason were out celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary.

"That was one of the things I was missing about sheltering in place," Jason Bleistein said. "I just wanted to go out to eat."

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