Buffets have never been a favorite of mine, more than any other reason because the quality of the food suffers. If I want food that’s been sitting around I can grab some prefab item at a grocery store, and if I want something that’s overcooked, I can just leave the timer off and let the stream of distractions overwhelm me. And I won’t name the restaurant I ate at where I skipped the buffet that a trained eye could clearly see was fairly bursting with leftovers from catering jobs the previous night or two. But with restaurants and bars opening up all over Arizona, I can’t help but close my eyes and envision the experiment that Japanese public health officials created last week to demonstrate a point: a buffet is a great way to hand out the germs. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a link:
So I’m sticking to my guns, as it were, and keeping gloved and regularly washed and sanitized hands on the steering wheel of Feast, with apologies to the more venturesome of you who’ve been asking me when we expect to open it up to seating in our dining room. Besides, that’s only one of a host of issues we have yet to deal with- we can’t pay the staff, purveyors, utilities and rent with a restaurant at half capacity (or, more likely, about 35-40% capacity, which means we have to figure out how those gloved hands can fit a full complement of plates and bowls on the line where the shelves are currently occupied by takeout boxes of various shapes and sizes. And we still need to leave room for those boxes, since neither takeout nor dine-in will pay the rent by itself. I guess we put more shelves in somehow? And then we create a system that allows us to put out dinners for multiple tables, firing one course at a time at an interval that’s different for each table, all while putting up larger quantities of food in boxes, all at once, in heats, essentially, without stepping on the toes of those who are dining here. Then we have a boxer/labeler/bagger, but we also have a foodrunner, who’d need to occupy the same space but probably can’t be the same person. All in all, it’s a lot to figure out, so we’ll thank you now for your patience with us. The patience for our reopening the dining room will be, I speculate, a lot easier to offer than the patience you’ll need once the pandemonium of re-inventing Feast again, or any restaurant, for that matter. It’s enough for me not to want to rise from that nap I’ve been wanting to take for three days. Mercifully, it’s a perfect project for procrastination, which is what I’ll do today, while I focus on tomorrow’s wine tasting, Sunday’s delivery run to the north and northwest, Tuesday’s delivery run to the hardworking people at St. Joe’s, prepping rack upon rack of South Carolina style ribs, despite their not being remotely pleasing to a not remotely pleasing man called Philip C, and making changes for the June menu.
I know many of you have been on pause for two months now, but I hope your Memorial Day weekend allows you to maybe pause from the pause, think about something that makes you feel fortunate, and honor someone in your life who should be memorialized, soldier or otherwise. It feels like we’ve got no shortage of people who’ve made tremendous sacrifices for the the good of our community. So thanks, soldiers, fallen and not, and thanks, hospital workers, and grocery store clerks, and everyone else who’s giving of themselves during this exhausting and stressful time.
and his friends at Feast