Portland Restaurants Come Up With Creative Ways to Serve Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Restaurants in the Bon Appetit food city of the year are providing take-out kiosks and offering new menus to keep customers coming

NBC Universal, Inc.

How does a Bon Appetit food city of the year operate with so many restaurants and bars closed? People in the food and beverage industry in Portland, Maine, are now trying to answer that question.

With social distancing mandates forcing many businesses to shut down temporarily and lay off staff, a number of businesses have come up with creative ways to offer existing or new menu items for take-out.

"Portland is built on social gatherings," said Ryan Carey, owner of Noble Barbecue. "I think people need to get innovative and I think people are getting innovative."

In Carey's case, that means putting a new take-out kiosk in front of his restaurant and modifying his menu to offer meat by the pound and Detroit-style pizza.

"It's a pan pizza, square pizza. We cook ours in the wood oven and then flash it in the gas oven," he said. "It's buttery, crispy, chewy in the middle. It's pretty delicious."

A short distance away at Bissell Brothers Brewing, co-owner Peter Bissell says his company moved quickly to offer "contactless" beer delivery throughout southern Maine.

"People still want to drink good beer," he said. "It was a quick pivot. I'd like to think it was the spirit of what started the company."

The positivity of certain businesses getting by does not mask reality now facing Portland's food economy, which has seen a number of layoffs and the temporary closure of many restaurants.

But the cooks, chefs and kitchen staff who are still working are reminding customers of that and setting an example like Figgy's Takeout and Catering, which has offered free casseroles to people laid off in the service sector.

It's the attitude that proves ingenuity, a snack and a smile go a long way during a crisis.

Contact Us