Local restaurants ready to toast the new year

Photo courtesy Blue Halo Instagram page

You may not have been able to travel this holiday season, but you can still celebrate the end of the year and the start of a new one — one that hopefully sees an end to the pandemic.

With New Year’s Eve less than 24 hours away, many local restaurants have been preparing for what will be a New Year’s Eve like no other.

Despite the tragic year it has been due to COVID-19, many restaurants are still looking forward to their customers coming to celebrate and ring in the new year in grand style with corks popping and bubbles galore.

Blue Halo, Sage and Ted’s Montana Grill are among  the Tallahassee restaurants that are accepting reservations for New Year’s Eve— even though tables are limited. Reservations are not required but are suggested to decrease wait time.

“We have a few less tables than usual, and they are going pretty fast,” Ashley White, a manager at Blue Halo in Bannerman Crossing, said. “Our reservations are almost completely booked.”

Normally, restaurants are able to run at full capacity. But this is anything but a normal year. This year most will be able to operate at 80 percent capacity to ensure their customers remain socially distant from each other.

According to federal guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks are required, tables will be spread out as much as possible, and smaller groups are strongly encouraged.

Some restaurants have kept their annual tradition in preparing specialty menus that include a four-course dinner, bottomless champagne service, and desserts.

While many residents, including students, have decided to suspend their travel plans this season, they are still looking forward to celebrating the arrival of 2021 with great food, drinks and a safe, happy new year.

“This year I am celebrating a little different from usual. This will be my first time celebrating New Year’s at a restaurant,” Marques Cutler, a Florida A&M Universitystudent, said. “But I am definitely looking forward to it. Ready to have a few drinks with some friends.”

It is in the restaurant’s best interest to make sure that their customers are comfortable and enjoy themselves during the holiday.

“We are going to have a good time and we are going to make our customers happy,” Charles Jones, a Sage Restaurant manager, said.

Operating hours for each restaurant will vary. While some may close by 10 p.m., others will remain open past midnight.

For more information about local restaurants and operations during New Year’s Eve, you should contact individual restaurants.