Restaurants trying to stay open amid state shutdown

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As of Friday morning every restaurant in Arkansas closed its doors to dining-in. 

This comes a day after Governor Asa Hutchinson asked bars and restaurants to switch to takeout and delivery only. 

The state is hopeful this move will help stop the spread of COVID 19. 

Local restaurants used to bustling dining rooms are now having to adjust.

At The Root Cafe in Little Rock employees are delivering meals curbside. 

“We’re just doing the best we can,” said Owner Jack Sundell. 

Sundell says they plan to keep serving three meals a day with some takeout friendly options. 

“With dinner we’ve gone to a lot of family style options,” he added. 

The Root is also selling beer and wine to-go with a food order, after the state eased that restriction. 

Sundell is also adding a menu, groceries. On Thursday the city of Little Rock temporarily lifted zoning restrictions allowing restaurants to operate as mini markets and grocery stores as long as no more than 10 people are in the building at once. 

Every day The Root will list what’s available online. Sundell says that gives them a way to help suppliers who are all mainly local farmers and are also being hit by this change. 

“All the fresh stuff that you get at the farmer’s market, we’ll have that here for retail sale,” he said. “We can help some of the farmers move what they’ve already grown for us and can’t sell.”

In North Little Rock restaurants and bars don’t have the option to add market services, instead places like Mugs Cafe are adding their own delivery. 

“Call us, we’ll deliver to you, we’ll bring you your food,” said employee Jaime Moore. “We want to accommodate everyone.”

The coffee, breakfast, and lunch spot is typically packed, but says since the switch to takeout it’s not getting anywhere near the same traffic. 

“It’s been pretty slow,” Moore said. 

As a college student Moore say she’s hoping things will pick up since she can’t afford and what ifs. 

“Wondering if this is my last day to come to work. How am I gonna pay my bills? It’s just very stressful,” Moore added. 

Sundell has already had to make some tough calls. He temporarily closed his sister spot, Mockingbird Bar and Tacos.

“It’s sad down there we laid off everybody,” Sundell said 

The Governor didn’t set an end time for this closure, leaving many restaurants trying to figure out how long this will last. 

“We wonder how long this will last and wonder how a business like ours can sustain,” Sundell said. “Hopefully when it’s all said and done we can open back up and go back to the way things were.”

You can find more information about ordering from The Root Cafe by clicking here

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