With the implementation of NC Governor Roy Cooper’s phase two reopening directive, Highlands restaurants got the green light to move forward. After more than two months of carryout dining only, many restaurant owners are ready and waiting to get the ball rolling on welcoming dine-in guests back inside.
Kyle Bruner, owner of the Blue Bicycle Café in Highlands said he has missed seeing customers’ smiling faces in his dining room.
“We have been open for carryout service since this started,” Bruner said by phone on Monday. “We’ve been able to do carryout and curbside service throughout the COVID-19 shutdown. We have weathered the storm and now we are looking forward to seeing customers come in for breakfast and lunch again.”
The Blue Bicycle resumed its daily 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. hours for breakfast and lunch on Tuesday
The Pizza Place on Main Street has also been open for carryout and curbside business since the Shelter in Place order went into effect in March. Owner Nick McCall opted to wait and open his restaurant for dine-in customers on Saturday as opposed to 5 p.m. on Friday night.
“We opted not to open on Friday as we wanted to make sure we had all our I’s dotted and T’s crossed with the health department,” McCall said. “I’ve had a good spring. Business was decent. I can’t complain about that. It wasn’t bad. I was probably about 20-percent down and that’s not bad compared to what it could have been. .”
McCall does not require his workers to wear masks given the high temperatures in the Pizza Place kitchen, but his is as sanitized an environment as you’ll find, he said.
“If my employees wore a mask they couldn’t breathe,” he said. “It’s so hot in there.”
McCall said it’s been business as usual for the Pizza Place since the shutdown started two months ago.
“I clean my restaurant every night anyway,” he said. “Restaurants have to be clean anyway or else the Health Department will shut you down. Our standards are already above their COVID-19 standards.”
Fresser’s was in the middle of a major renovation when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the “shelter in place” initiative and Highlands and the rest of NC shut down, according to owner Debbie Grossman. During that time, Grossman said, their building has received a new roof, had rotten boards replaced and a new, fresh coat of paint.
“With the shift into phase two we will be able to allow customers to sit out on our patio to enjoy their meal,” she said. “This is great, now we need the weather to cooperate”
Grossman said while she’s lost money since her shop has been closed, she has the big picture in mind when looking forward.
“We want to do this right,” she said. “We want to take the precaution when opening up that we do things the right way.”
Everyone is in this together.
“Everything right now is affecting everybody’s business,” Grossman said. “But we need to be smart and, whatever is for the greater good, we need to do.”