|Dialogue restaurant, Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich, from THE BEFORE.|
I figured that the synchronous preparation and enjoyment of the same menu was meant to recoup not only some of the restaurant's revenue but also one of the fine-dining restaurant's profound services to humanity: I mean its ability to enhance civilization by offering a communal aesthetic and social experience that enlivens the senses and expands the imagination. Check and check. (And "Check, please!")
Upon reading this news, I was touched by the resourceful creativity of the restaurateurs. I marveled at their tenacity. I understood that doing anything other than adapting--however imperfectly, however not like it was--under today's dire circumstances might be far worse. Something had to be done, right? Leave it to restaurateurs to find imaginative solutions. I admired these people in Austin trying to make it work.
I also felt depressed. The news of this creative solution only highlighted the loss of what makes me want to visit a restaurant. The transformation of the restaurant into a home-cooking experiment might mean the financial survival of some business models (and I support any effort, really, at this terrible point), but it means losing what I love about restaurants. I love the kitchen staff's cooking and want to experience that, not mine. I love the ambiance. For this reason, I leave my home. I love the privilege of being served by competent, graceful servers. I appreciate what it takes to execute good service, and when I choose to go to a restaurant, especially a fine-dining establishment, I am willing to pay--and tip--well for it.
What can I do to get the restaurants I love back to what I loved about them? So far, all I've managed to do is get lots of takeout, donate whatever I can to the legitimate causes, including some Gofundme pages for specific beloved places, and calling and emailing Congress to fix the sorely lacking PPP bill so that it benefits restaurants. I follow Independent Restaurant Coalition and #saverestaurants (saverestaurants.co) and post what they suggest I post. I applaud my local government's employment of restaurants to help feed seniors and those too much at risk to venture out to get their own food.
If I can do more, I will. I want my beautiful, bountiful restaurants back. I don't want them permanently transformed into home-cooking courses and curbside pickup joints.