Food News: DeWine warns of a second restaurant shutdown; Service! holds food drive

Erin Edwards
eedwards@columbusmonthly.com
Chefs Sangeeta Lakhani and Matthew Heaggans cofounded Service! this year to feed laid off hospitality workers. The nonprofit is now focused on providing grants to address short-term financial hardships for restaurant industry workers.

In a statewide address last Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine warned that Ohio restaurants and bars could face a second shutdown if COVID-19 cases don’t go down. Ohio saw more than 7,800 new cases on Sunday, slightly down from a record 8,071 on Friday. “If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers,” DeWine said, adding that he will revisit the issue on Friday, Nov. 20. “I am very well aware of the burden that this will place on employees. I am well aware of the burden that this places on the owners. But these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”

In response to DeWine’s warning, the Ohio Restaurant Association issued a statement last week underlining the industry’s commitment to safety. It also pushed back on the idea of a second dine-in ban. “Any discussion of another restaurant closure is inconsistent with any science or contact tracing data that we have been provided, which continues to detail that the greatest risk of transmission, is occurring in unregulated private gatherings,” the statement read. “Further restrictions would be devastating to an industry that employs 585,000 Ohioans at more than 23,000 locations, and is troubling, considering the extensive steps the industry has taken to effectively abide by orders, requirements and recommendations.”

The nonprofit organizationService!is giving away 100 turkeys this Thanksgiving to hospitality workers facing financial insecurity because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the organization is holding a food drive to help put sides on the Thanksgiving table. Through Sunday, Nov. 22, you can drop off donations of canned and shelf-stable items at Preston’s: A Burger Joint inside the North Market. To learn more, visitservicerelief.org.

A new café and bookstore called Austen & Co. opened last week at 1530 S. High St. in Merion Village. The new, family-run spot serves Roaming Goat coffee, tea from Churchill’s Fine Teas and sweets from The Pastry Factory.

The owners ofThe Original Pancake Housein Upper Arlington will soon open a second location in Central Ohio. The new breakfast spot in Westerville opens at 715 Worthington Rd. on Saturday, Nov. 21.