While some Charlotte-area restaurants prepare to reopen dining rooms Friday, others decide to wait

N.C. restaurants prepare to reopen for dine-in customers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As part of Phase 2 of reopening in North Carolina beginning Friday, restaurants will be allowed to partially re-open their dining rooms.

“For me, we need the money,” Anthony Deresh of Picante says. “That pays our bills, not only here at the restaurant, but our bills at home.”

Deresh is eager to reopen inside, after two months of to-go, and now, meat shortages.

"We typically carry steak, shredded beef, and it's really hard to get that right now," he says. "And if we can find it, it's double to triple in price."

The indoor dining will include precautions like face coverings, putting up signs to keep customers six feet apart, and cutting the amount of people allowed inside, in half. There will be extensive cleaning and safety procedures.

For the family running Waxhaw’s new Hacienda El Rey, it will be what square one looks like. Their grand opening had already been scheduled for Friday, the same day they will also be feeding lunch to local police for free.

“It’s just a very sweet coincidence,” Nelly Martinez says.

Martinez and her sister-and-law and partner Flor Guarez already knew it would be no normal day one.

“We never expected a grand opening like this,” Martinez says.

But, the pair says they are grateful for some indoor dining options.

“We’re family, and we want to treat you like family,” Martinez says. “And it’s just hard to give that family atmosphere while we have to serve you through a window.”

Not everyone is jumping at the chance to invite people inside. Owners of a string of NoDa restaurants including Crepe Cellar and Haberdish are going to wait.

“We still just kind of want to see how everything goes, and take the time to make sure we have everybody trained,” Jeff Tonidandel says. “We have about 100 employees and we are trying to keep everybody safe.”

His restaurants will continue to-go only for now, weighing their options down the road.

“We hope that we keep a portion of the to-go, because I think that’s going to help us alive too when we only have 50 percent,” Tonidandel says.

Meanwhile, some of his restaurateur peers get set for seating customers again.

“It’s important for us, gradually, to get our sales back,” Deresh says. “And hopefully even beat the numbers we did last year.”

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