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New on the Menu

New on the Menu: Restaurants engage with customers online

Operators take to Instagram, Zoom and other media to keep in touch with their guests

Most restaurant dining rooms are closed for now, but operators don’t want them to be forgotten. So they have taken to social media and other virtual platforms, such as the video conferencing app Zoom, to give once and future guests the interaction that they crave.

There’s a lot going on via Instagram, where Georgia chefs Hector Santiago and Aaron Bellizzi are doing cooking demonstrations. They take different approaches: Bellizzi, the chef of The Local Brew on St. Simons Island, spends eight minutes teaching viewers how to dry herbs and orange zest and make salad; Santiago of El Super Pan in Atlanta makes four quick sandwiches in four minutes.

In Chicago, Spiaggia wine director Rachel Lowe is teaching wine classes on Instagram each Wednesday, while Black Tap, a small chain based in New York City, is asking guests to inspire them by designing over-the-top milkshakes.

Those sorts of engagement are all free of charge, but in Los Angeles, chef Wolfgang Puck is throwing a virtual dinner party via Zoom that costs $175 per person.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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