COVINGTON, Ky. — Frida 602 co-owner Emily Wolff said she was excited but anxious before reopening the restaurant on Friday.
"Even though we have 17 years of restaurant experience, there is this newness to it and this uncertainty," said Wolff while sitting in one of Frida's colorful outdoor chairs that populates the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
Wolff and her partner, Paul Weckman, first opened the Mexican restaurant, named after the famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, in August 2015 at 602 Main St. in Covington's Mainstrasse Village.
The pair had already been pioneers in Mainstrasse Village years before, when they introduced Otto's at 521 Main St. in 2003.
Frida, Otto's and Larry's, a neighborhood dive bar the couple purchased at 536 West Ninth St. last year, had all been closed since Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued a ban on dine-in service to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in March. The ban also forced the couple to delay the opening of their fourth Covington establishment, The Standard, located inside a converted gas station and garage at 434 Main St.
"I feel like we are back in that spot of that uncertainty," Wolff said.
Wolff said she and her husband decided to reopen Frida first for two reasons.
"When we made the decision to open it was going to be Frida first because one, we have this amazing outdoor space, but also it's a more casual vibe," she said.
Frida's expanded, safely spaced outdoor seating consists of bright blue wood benches lining the sidewalk and neon pink metal tables and chairs spaced out on the adjacent Mainstrasse Village promenade.
"Luckily for us, the city of Covington has been very cooperative," said Molly Costello, who as Frida's director of operations has helped Wolff and Weckman prepare Frida for its reopening. "We're excited to see everyone come back and we just want to be able to make sure they are able to enjoy themselves in a safe environment."
That safe environment will feature no interior seating for the immediate future, ongoing training for staff, constant cleaning and a walk-up window for people not dining at Frida to order food and take it to eat elsewhere, Costello said.
There also will be six-foot distance marks on the sidewalk to make sure sure guests are keeping in mind safe social distancing.
Frida even tweaked its menu to further help everyone enjoy themselves while dining outside.
"In order to serve everyone safely and quickly, we wanted to limit the menu just a little bit to be able to get just less products to handle on the kitchen end of things and then on the front of the house end of things just to be able to produce that food more quickly," Costello said. "We'll have all the hits, though. We have our Brussels sprout tacos, which is always a crowd favorite. Our signature margaritas, queso, guacamole, salsas."
Wolff said as a restaurant owner, Frida also will support neighboring restaurants opening for the first time in more than a month.
"You're going to see it down the street at Commonwealth with their new to-go and their upstairs dining," Wolff said. "You're going to see it at Bouquet. They're all are going to modify and do what they need to do to shine."
"We're reopening. We're rewriting this next chapter and we're excited to see where it goes. We're feeling positive."
For more information about Frida 602 visit the restaurant's page on Facebook.