Dark kitchens and virtual restaurants continue to expand across the country, but as the pendulum of food spending swings back toward grocery, a similar model is expanding rapidly there as well. While a dark grocery store sounds like nightmare fuel out of a zombie movie or something, these new “microfulfillment” centers, as described in a recent Pitchbook report examining digital grocery operations, are expanding rapidly and attracting millions in investment.
There are 72 counties in Wisconsin and each governing body has the authority to make its own tweaks to the governor’s mandates on reopening the economy. Which wouldn’t be a big deal, unless like Cousins Subs, you have restaurants in a host of different counties and a few out of state. Or you're a resort town and have a clientele who expect rigid protocols in place.
The pristine sky was clear from pesky clouds that block the sunshine, and the lake, dotted with boaters revved up on nautical social distancing, was sparkling. It felt good to be walking through a restaurant—even if it was off-limits—up the stairs and out onto the deck where we were seated at a hightop six-feet from the railing overlooking Lake Minnetonka. It was late afternoon on a Friday and parties waiting to be seated filled the lobby outside 6Smith, even though everyone had reservations.
Restaurateurs have had to get creative to survive during the current pandemic. Crooners Supper Club in Fridley is hosting a summer Lakeside Drive-in Concert Series where music lovers can social distance in the comfort of their own automobile.
The team at BA Craftmade Aprons is offering 75 free “Hospitality Health and Safety Kits” to Twin Cities restaurant locations that are beginning to reopen, as part of their Project Black & Blue initiative, which has given back thousands of dollars to people in the hospitality field who have faced hardship over the past year.