How COVID has affected dining in Tallahassee

The Mellow Mushroom on West Pensacola Street eventually closed for good this summer. Photo by Erin Achenbach

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, millions of businesses throughout the world have been subject to opening and closing to avoid getting their employees and their customers sick. The same is true for restaurants in Tallahassee.

For the first major wave of the virus, almost all the restaurants and eateries in Tallahassee were closed for indoor dining, but over time and with the blessing of the state, many began to open back up again. There were some smaller, less fortunate restaurants that did not make the cut for reopening and shut down for good.

Due to the virus, restaurants have had to make countless accommodations in order to remain open. For example, dinner places like BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse had to let go of some of its staff in order to follow proper social distancing rules. Most places have had to limit the number of customers allowed indoors at one time.

Other big effects that the virus has had on restaurants is dining in. A lot of places closed their dine-in option, but were still open for take-out and deliveries.

“It was super hard finding a romantic place to go for a date with my girlfriend on our anniversary because a lot of the places were closed. Most nights we would just get take out and go home for our date nights,”  Luke Williams, a Tallahassee resident, said.

Small business, Kostas Subs ‘N’ Salads, which is a Greek restaurant near Florida A&M University, has been facing some major issues since the pandemic. Although the place is a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Yelp, people just haven’t been flocking to the restaurant like they used to.

Jessica Miranda, a long-time Kostas customer, said, “I really like going to Kostas. The gyros are absolutely amazing, but you can tell that the owner has been struggling to keep up business especially since COVID happened to hit really bad.”

The virus rates have been fluctuating immensely and unpredictably in the United States since it first struck earlier this year. President Trump has been trying to keep the country open for as long as possible. If he would’ve closed the U.S. it might had a detrimental effect on the economy as a whole and it might have potentially made it impossible for more restaurants in Tallahassee to remain open on a permanent basis.

Although a lot of dinner restaurants in town have reopened, they are projected to close back down temporarily once Joseph Biden is officially in office.