Restaurants adjust to limitations during pandemic

Michael Tortorich
Plaquemine Post South

A young woman walked out of Cafe Lafourche on the Bayou Friday at noon, carrying a stack of takeout orders.

I’m handling the delivery today for my coworkers,” she said with a smile.

Inside the restaurant on 817 Veterans Blvd. in Donaldsonville, the chairs have been placed upside-down on the tables. Owner and operator Eric Weil peers over his glasses and offers a greeting to another customer.

Just days before, Gov. John Bel Edwards put into place “aggressive measures” to limit the size of gatherings to fewer than 50 people. Closures include schools, bars, casinos, theaters, and gyms. Restaurants, meanwhile, have been allowed to offer drive-through and takeout options only.

The measures have been put into place to control the spread of COVID-19, a worldwide pandemic.

For Weil, whose business overlooks Bayou Lafourche, customers have been stopping in for a bite to eat.

He recalled a couple from Maine who passed through the area in their RV. They wanted to sit out by the bayou to enjoy their meal, but were unable to do so.

The sign speaks for itself,” Weil said of the warning sign placed at the front door.

While waiting for their order, the retired couple chatted with Weil about their cross-country trip. They shared stories about their lives and families.

I asked him what he did,” Weil said. “He was a stonecutter who made etchings. He told me about how he passed his business down to his daughter.”

Weil said he and his staff have been taking precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They have been diligent about sanitizing their work area, and washing their hands frequently.

Though there were some slow days during the week, Weil said orders have been placed in spurts. Posting specials to Facebook has provided a lift in sales.

We have plenty of food. We’re well stocked,” he said. “We probably have enough for a month.”

About two to three weeks ago, he filled the freezers with thousands of dollars worth of food.

Weil said vendors have been steady in supplying products. Gloves, paper products, sanitizer, and soap have been available.

If you’re not two weeks ahead of schedule in the restaurant business, you’ll be in trouble,” Weil said.

Bayou Country Wholesale Supply, another Donaldsonville business, has been providing boxes and supplies to the restaurant.

So far, the takeout business has been running smoothly for Weil and his staff.

I have extra everything,” he said. “We’re here and ready to cook.”