chairing Chiringo

Foodservice operators prepare for Irma

Chefs board up restaurants and prepare to feed those in distress

Restaurants facing the brunt of Hurricane Irma this weekend are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“We are watching and waiting,” said Anthony DiBernardo, pitmaster and owner of Swig & Swine in Charleston, S.C., adding that he hopes to stay open. “It’s a very big blow to the business as it is. It stresses me out to think about shutting down and losing all income. I haven’t slept in days.” 

Since Swig & Swine uses wood for cooking, the restaurant will be able to serve food even if power or gas are out, and DiBernardo has arranged for a refrigerated trailer to be delivered to the restaurant if power goes out so he can store perishable ingredients. 

“Although we want to be fully prepared for the storm, prepping to be able to help afterwards is very important to us,” he said. 

Baco-Raton-based salad and sandwich chain Tossed announced it would be closing down its South Florida locations until Sunday. 

Chiringo, a beachside restaurant in Grayton Beach, Fla., on the Gulf of Mexico, has boarded up its windows in preparation for Irma, but owner Andrew McCoski hopes to keep it open. 

“Our feeling is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Money is not worth risking anyone’s safety or the long-term viability of the business,” he said. 

Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo, a caterer in Miami, said she’s been cooking since Thursday to bring 2,500 meals to Red Cross Shelters, then on Saturday she plans to hunker down at home in the Miami Shores neighborhood “with my family and pets and weathering out the storm.”

For people heading inland from the storm to Atlanta, Concentrics Restaurants, which operates One Midtown Kitchen, Two Urban Licks, Tap and The Brasserie & Neighborhood Café at Parish, is offering a 20 percent discount on all food and beverage to evacuees from Florida, South Carolina and the Georgia coast.  Evacuees just need to show their drivers licenses. 

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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