As I rode my bicycle to get some dinner tonight, I felt autumn in the air. I wore a sweatshirt for the ride, the first time in months; it was that back to school air. It was too cold at first, but I quickly acclimated to weather during the short ride to the restaurant. Just as I was thinking the place seemed too empty, I saw a sign on the door: Closed.
I guess it’s closed on Tuesdays now. Wednesday too, actually. This was a bummer, as I was looking forward to a hamburger and some fresh cut fries on this breezy Tuesday. I grabbed a slice instead.
As I watched a full-moon rise over a mostly-empty patio, I thought back on a summer of modified dining experiences. It’s been a devastating year for the service industry, especially restaurants, and it’s been painfully fascinating to watch from the table. Distance, reservations, masks—and that’s if they let you inside.
I’m not complaining—my love for not eating at home has triumphed in a big way lately. I didn’t like crowds pre-virus, so I can appreciate the spaced-out layouts that are becoming common in restaurants. And they need us. Now more than ever, your favorite spots need you to make that reservation or place that pickup order. Maybe even buy a gift card for a birthday or to give at the holidays—it’s a restaurant gift card, it’ll get used.
There are countless ways to patronize your favorite culinary cache. When I was a teenager, my Mother would buy me gift certificates to restaurants inside the mall near home. This way, I could treat my pals to lunch and my Mom knew her son wasn’t spending her money on cigarettes. Win-win.
However you decide to indulge, just indulge. You’re needed; do it for Mom.