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The COVID-19 pandemic is taking an unprecedented toll on the nation’s restaurant community. With declarations to close dining rooms and keep gatherings to fewer than 10 people, many Arlington restaurants have adopted a takeout/delivery only model. However, some are taking that mantra a step further, keeping jobs intact by having employees help the community.
At Crystal City’s Jaleo (and at several of the restaurant’s sister locations throughout the region), owner José Andrés is repurposing his Spanish tapas restaurant as a “community kitchen” with affordable plates of the day available for takeout purchase. The community kitchens will operate out of the restaurant’s side door with volunteer staff working during afternoon hours. According to Jaleo’s website, all restaurant employees will be provided with paid leave and current health benefits for at least through the end of March.
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At Bayou Bakery in Courthouse, owner David Guas has partnered with Real Food for Kids to serve free, plant-based lunches to underserved children and families due to school closures and job losses. Every weekday throughout the crisis, Guas and his team are cooking vegetarian (including his signature New Orleans Red Beans and Rice) meals for children and families in need as well as for military families in the Arlington community. Guas is currently keeping Bayou Bakery open to the public for curbside pickup or delivery as well in an effort to maintain salaries for his diminished team who also have families of their own to feed, an effort that has gained national media attention.
In addition to providing takeout and delivery service throughout the time of the dining room’s closure, Virginia Square’s Medium Rare restaurant is taking steps to assist seniors who may be self-quarantining during this challenging time. Restaurant staff ask that anyone in the Arlington community who is age 70 or older contact them directly for a free, delivered meal of the restaurant’s classic Steak Frites.
Arlington is maintaining an ongoing list of restaurants open for takeout/delivery during this challenging time. Contact us to have your restaurant’s information added.
Author: Cara O'Donnell