Editor’s note: The article was updated on Tuesday, March 24 at 3 p.m. to reflect how Bake For You, a Slingerlands bakery/cafe, will be closed through Monday, March 30; it will then offer home delivery. The original article’s online and print versions were written before Bake For You announced its temporary closure on Monday, March 23.
Local restaurants, groceries and cafes are working to stay afloat by updating menus, offering takeout orders, delivery service and gift cards to encourage residents to not forget about them during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As COVID-19 cases surge, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday, March 20, that 100 percent of non-essential workers in New York state must stay home. However, the state Department of Economic Development established that restaurants and cafes are exempt, but are only allowed to do take-out orders or delivery.
Now operating in a different format, local businesses are feeling the pressure to still cater to customers, generate revenue, potentially reduce their workforce or worse.
John Hooper, who co-owns John and Mary’s Grocery with his wife, Mary Hooper, at the Delmar Marketplace at 406 Kenwood Ave. in Delmar, said he remembered how there were not any planes in the sky for some time after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“It was eerie and this [pandemic] has that same feel but a little stranger,” he said. “There’s lots of uncertainty and everyone feels it.”
But Hooper said he is staying optimistic and since the pandemic reached the Capital District, he noticed more people shopping at the Delmar Marketplace than usual. “We’ve started a delivery service too for people who don’t feel like they should go out,” he said. “They can call and we have a $25 minimum order and no delivery charge. That delivery service has picked up a little and it’s done by me or a couple of college kids who work for us.”
Hooper also said that McCarroll’s Butcher and Deli, the other business inside Delmar Marketplace, offers takeout orders and delivery with a $25 minimum order. While people can still go inside to order, seating is closed off.
“I think we are all doing the right thing and staying hopeful,” Hooper said.
For more information or to order, visit www.delmarmarketplace.com, call John and Mary’s Grocery at 518-439-3936 or call McCarroll’s Butcher and Deli at 518-478-9651.
John Capporizzo, manager of Golden Grain Pizza at 98 Wolf Road in Albany, said he and his staff are staying positive.
He said his business is “taking it day by day and we do lots of delivery service now.” Customers can call Golden Grain Pizza, order and pay by credit card “over the phone so that there’s no need to physically exchange anything. We then email them their receipts so there’s also no touching. It’s all about safety.”
Golden Grain Pizza, which has a second location on 274 Troy Road in Rensselaer, also offers delivery. According to its website, online orders can only be delivered within a six-mile radius of the store.
For more information or to order, visit www.goldengrainpizza.com, call the Albany location at 518-459-9292 or the Rensselaer location at 518-283-7777.
Linda Kindlon, who co-owns Bake For You with her partner, Justin Cary at 5000 Dunhill Court in Slingerlands, said their business will stay closed through Monday, March 30 to begin preparations for no-contact home delivery. By Wednesday, April 1, Bake For You will reveal information for how home delivery would work.
“It’s been pretty difficult but we’re trying to stay creative,” she said. “We’re doing everything possible.” Bake For You had previously offered curbside takeout and allowed a few people to enter indoors until the week of March 23.
“Business has been doing OK so far but I don’t know how long we can sustain it like this,” she said; Bake For You opened in June 2019. “Obviously, we were anxious and there was always trepidation with moving to a new location for your business but the [COVID-19 pandemic] has since taken over those feelings we had. It’s much more difficult and scary.”
For more information or to order, visit bakeforyou.com or call 518-207-5430.
Nancy Moran, who manages Philly Bar and Lounge at 622 Watervliet Shaker Road in Latham, said it not only offers takeout and delivery for food, but also alcohol.
“We’ve done an OK amount of takeout so far and I appreciate people who are still coming to us,” she said. “We’ve never faced a situation like this before, it’s crazy.”
The restaurant temporarily let go of some staff, including bartenders and waiters, although they “are welcome to return” once the pandemic ends.
“But it’s hard. We still have a few staff like cooks and anyone who can help get the food out and I’m just at the bar. We’re all trying to keep our jobs,” Moran said. “Because we can only do takeout, people can’t sit inside obviously so the volume has drastically decreased. We’ve limited the staff to try to stop the virus spread.”
Philly Bar and Lounge also takes advantage of DoorDash, a food delivery service, to bring orders to customers’ doorsteps. “We also have gift cards but I do understand why many people may not want to buy now because they may not have much money,” Moran said. “We’re not trying to push it to anyone but it’s something.”
For more information or to order, visit phillybarandlounge.com or call 518-785-9559.
While the business landscape evolves amid the pandemic, Hooper, Capporizzo, Kindlon and Moran expressed gratitude to their hardworking staff and customers who continue to patronize their businesses.
“We definitely appreciate all our staff and we want to keep them employed as long as possible,” Moran said. “I don’t have words except that they’re so awesome and great.”
Kindlon chimed in, “The Bethlehem community has always been cheering for all of us and we get messages from people that they’re rooting for us. It’s really heartwarming how there’s comradery with all the other businesses.”
Hooper encouraged residents to “do business with those that make them comfortable. Everyone is working their hardest to make sure there is some normalcy in an abnormal situation like this. We got a lot of high school and college kids working for us too which is wonderful. We treat our staff like family.”
Capporizzo concluded, “We will always try to keep up with all the latest developments with the coronavirus cases and stay coronavirus-free.”
Spotlight News publishes a list of restaurants and cafes in Bethlehem and Colonie that offer delivery and take-out service on its Facebook page every day. Visit www.facebook.com/spotlight.newspapers.