Locally-Owned Restaurants in Fort Worth Adjust to Smaller Crowds

NBC 5 News

Magnolia Avenue in the Near Southside area of Fort Worth prides itself on being a dining destination. More than two dozen restaurants are locally-owned or based in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Many are adjusting menus and hours to reflect a new existence brought on by the threat of coronavirus and restrictions on the size of public gatherings.

The federal government Monday recommended against gatherings of 10 people or more for the next 15 days.

Lunchtime favorite Lili’s Bistro announced it is closing effective Tuesday.

"It is with tremendous regret that due to health concerns for family, employees, friends and the public, Lili's Bistro has made the difficult decision to completely cease operations," owner Vance Martin wrote on social media Tuesday. "I will review and assess every 7 days on Sunday and decide then if we will reopen the following Monday. In the meantime, we wish all, safety and good health."

Spiral Diner and Bakery, a vegan restaurant next door, will operate under a new normal by midweek. General manager Quinn Ofeno said “we’ve been taking it day by day” and by Wednesday the restaurant will shift to “take out and to go orders only.”

Ellerbe Fine Foods is offering curbside to-go for diners who are “feeling a little anxious,” according to a post on Facebook offering service that goes “from the farm to your car.”

Italian favorite Nonna Tata told diners, “Your health and happiness is our number one priority” in a Facebook post about delivery service through Caviar.

Around the corner on Park Place Avenue, a sign on the front door of locally-owned Chadra Mezza and Grill tells diners, “We love our customers and want to support the health of our community.” It closed the doors for dine-in and is only accepting take out orders for now.

Jon Bonnell, owner and executive chef at Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Waters Restaurant in Sundance Square assured diners of specific protocols to keep them safe from regular disinfecting to providing more space between customers. Yet, in a candid post on Facebook, Bonnell also said, “These are uncertain and rocky times for everyone. The future is unclear. One thing I know for sure is that your local restaurants are also suffering.”

“Our industry is dying,” Bonnell wrote.

Back at Spiral Diner, Ofren says the changes don’t reflect a fear that customers won’t show up but rather it’s “understanding and respecting their choice. We’re all learning together.”

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