NewsRegion Northern Kentucky


In NKY, restaurants switch gears amid COVID-19 closures

Posted at 3:06 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 20:00:36-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — The owner of Old Town Cafe said his restaurant has never done delivery before, but now they’re making changes in order to stay afloat.

Owner Frank Bonfilo said his staff aren’t panicking over Gov. Andy Beshear’s order to close all restaurant and bar dining rooms, but they know it will impact their pay.

“They live off their tips,” Bonfilo said. “There is no tips. And hopefully people doing pick up will maybe leave a little bit here and there. I told them to file for unemployment.”

Beshear’s order comes one day after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered Ohio bars and restaurants to close their dining rooms. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb also ordered dining rooms to close on Monday.

The Gruff in Covington is getting creative amid the ordered closure. The shop, located on E 2nd Street, already has a window, so they’re amping up carry-out orders.

Chef Baron Shirley said he thinks the restaurant has a unique advantage with the window.

The shop will offer more from its deli, including a build-your-own sandwich option and heat-and-eat meals.

“We also have beer, wine and liquor that they can sell through the window,” Shirley said.

Bonfilo said his joint will continue to do carry-out orders; staff will take orders directly out to cars.

Shirley said it’s imperative people continue to support local businesses.

“Now more than ever people have to support local business,” Shirley said. “This shutdown is going to be really difficult for small mom and pop restaurants in Cincinnati, in Covington, Newport."