The Biscayne Times

Aug 07th
On the Road to Recovery PDF Print E-mail
Written by Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin, BT Contributors   
June 2020

Pix_Dish_6-20Food news that we know you can use

Food news we know you can use

APix_Dish_6-20fter a few months of uncertainty, it appears that South Florida’s food scene is finally starting to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. By the time you read this column, dining rooms across the county will be open to the public. But what awaits hungry guests is a new normal.

The most noticeable difference is limited seating capacity. Due to government regulations, restaurants cannot currently operate at 100-percent occupancy. Instead, occupancy is capped at a certain percentage, and a minimum distance of six feet must separate each party. To help maintain the appropriate social distance, some restaurants are using plastic dividers and other inventive partitions. As a result, be prepared for an extra-intimate dining experience.

Another notable change: face masks. While local curfews and other rules have been lifted, the face mask requirement is here to stay -- at least for now; if you’re visiting a restaurant, you need to have some sort of facial covering. Don’t worry, though, because you can take it off while you’re eating (no surprise there). But if you need to use the restroom, greet a friend at a nearby table, or otherwise get up from your seat, you’d better have that mask back on. You won’t be alone, either. All restaurant staff must wear face masks as well.

Fancy printed menus are also a thing of the past. Single-use menus are now the norm, even if you’re at a more upscale eatery. Some establishments are forgoing the paper menu altogether and opting for QR (Quick Response) barcodes at the table. Once you’re seated in the dining room, pull out your phone and scan the barcode to bring up the menu. Now you have a valid excuse to use your mobile device during a meal.

Be aware that restaurants can impose extra requirements beyond those mandated by the government. Some restaurants are taking customers’ temperatures at the doors, while others are asking their guests several COVID-19 screening questions before seating them. It goes without saying that you should stay home if you’re experiencing a fever or other suspicious symptoms.

Want to support your favorite restaurant, but still not comfortable dining in? Many businesses are aware that customers might not feel safe, despite all the new preventive measures. That’s why they’re continuing to offer takeout and delivery services for the foreseeable future. Because the reopening situation remains fluid, this month’s Dining Guide is still focused on restaurants that offer takeout, delivery, or both.

Should you decide to dine out, there are a few precautions you can take to protect yourself and those around you. First, consider sitting at a table outside. Yes, the hot Florida summer is upon us, but outdoor dining is still somewhat manageable. Eating outside reduces the risk of respiratory droplets being recirculated in the air and may decrease the chance of infection.

You should also be cleaning your hands regularly. As part of the new regulations for restaurants, hand-sanitizing stations should be readily available throughout the venue. You may also find that your table is stocked with sanitizing wipes and sprays; be sure to use them as needed.



The pandemic may have slowed down restaurant openings, but it hasn’t stopped them. One of the newest arrivals to the scene is La Santa Taquería (201 NE 82nd St., 305-797-7534). After popping up in downtown Miami and Wynwood, the taco shop has opened a brick-and-mortar location in the Little River neighborhood. At this permanent outpost, guests can choose from a variety of succulent taco fillings like Baja shrimp, octopus, and barbacoa. The menu is varied, as are the flavors -- plus the prices are easy on the budget.

It’s also no surprise that COVID-19 has led to a record number of furloughs and layoffs. While they wait for things to turn around, some local chefs are offering fresh food from their homes. One example is chef Benjamin Murray of Pao at Faena Miami Beach, who has launched the downtown-based Benh Mi. A play on the name of the classic Vietnamese sandwich, Benh Mi offers affordable meal kits that let customers create their own banh mis with fillings like lemongrass meatball and roasted pork shoulder. Orders can be placed through the business’s Instagram page @benh_mis.


Geoffrey Anderson Jr. and Dianne Rubin-Anderson are co-founders of Miami Food Pug, an award-winning South Florida food blog that fuses the couple’s love of dogs and food.

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