Dining’s new pandemic reality: shorter menus, quicker meals, and ugly-delicious dishes

Every departure from his original dream was made to keep his staff employed, he says. “No one is going to order a $68 steak to go,” he thought when the pandemic emptied his dining room last year. Beran replaced eight ounces of dry-aged rib-eye with the same amount of hanger steak for $30. “Fancy food doesn’t travel well,” the chef says. So his dishes became more rustic (cassoulet was a recent possibility), and portions grew, giving customers the option of leftovers.

“We’ve gone from pressed duck served tableside to a glorified cheese sandwich,” he says — and from a menu with 32 dishes to a dozen.

Almost a year into what insiders liken to an extinction event for the industry, with 110,000 restaurants closed during the pandemic, diners are adjusting to the reality of fewer menu choices, briefer dining times, online ordering and dishes whose looks take a back seat

Read More

Last call: A look back at the hangouts, watering holes and favorite restaurants we lost during the pandemic | Arts And Culture

In these places, we blew out birthday candles, toasted successes, perhaps started a romance, and got our fill, and then some, of good food, laughter and community.

COVID-19 has ravaged our restaurant and hospitality industry. Nearly one in five restaurants have closed in Massachusetts since the pandemic started, according to data released by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association last fall. In the Berkshires, as the winter and the pandemic drag on, restaurants struggle week-to-week to stay open with “For Sale” signs popping up all over the county.

These local landmarks filled our bellies, hearts and towns with more than food — some are where couples marked every wedding anniversary, others gave neighbors a good spot to land on Friday nights to catch up — they also gave us a collective sense of what makes the Berkshires. From farm-to-table fare, to killer French fries, extra large omelets and homemade dumplings, these are

Read More

Missing family during the pandemic? Celebrate your ancestry with recipes.

Homemade cardamom bread sprinkled with pearl sugar is an annual treat in the DeRosa home in Cranston, Rhode Island. The family’s two young boys, 11 and 14, tell stories about their Granduncle Olof as it bakes: his family farm in New England, his cows, his truck, his big hands, and his recipe for bread, which he learned from his mother, who immigrated from Sweden.

a little girl standing in a kitchen preparing food: None

© Photograph by Bjarte Rettedal / Getty Images

The DeRosa family found that making ancestral recipes like cardamon bread lifted the boys’ spirits when they started growing tired of homeschooling during the pandemic. It kept the boys motivated, says Family Dinner Project director Anne Fishel, who collects and studies stories like these.

“The pandemic is giving parents a chance to share memories [like family recipes] that are really important to them that they want their kids to remember,” says Fishel, who’s also a clinical psychologist

Read More

Bill of Fare: Quality food and loyal customers keep Antimo’s Italian Kitchen cookin’ throughout pandemic

Customer loyalty and a reputation for quality food have sustained Antimo’s Italian Kitchen in Hopewell Borough throughout the pandemic.

With indoor dining in New Jersey restricted to 25 percent of each restaurant’s capacity, the focus is on contactless curbside pickup, says owner Antimo Iovine.

“Ninety-five percent of our business is curbside pickup,” he said, since reopening after the initial state-ordered closure at the start of the pandemic.

Customers order their food and pay online, park in a spot designated for pickup, pop their trunk (making sure there is room for the food) and call the restaurant to let them know they have arrived. Staff members bring out their food and put it in the trunk.

On the restaurant website Iovine assures his customers that he and his staff are taking extra precautions for cleanliness and sanitation while offering the same quality food they are known for.

Iovine said he has

Read More