Newsfeed: Howlin’ Ray’s delivery, new restaurant guidelines and dining with mannequins

Mannequins provide social distancing at the Inn at Little Washington as they prepare to reopen their restaurant.
Mannequins provide social distancing at the Inn at Little Washington as they prepare to reopen their restaurant.
(Associated Press / Steve Helber)

This week in food news:

Restaurant opening guidelines

On Tuesday Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office issued a detailed 12-page list of guidelines that restaurants will be asked to adhere to once dine-in service resumes, including steps to ensure physical distancing, the elimination of self-service and tableside preparations, mask and gloves requirements for staff, and strict sanitization practices. Two rural Northern California counties have met the state’s conditions for businesses to reopen so far, but for populous areas such as Los Angeles, in-restaurant dining remains a long way off.

Howlin’ Ray’s returns

Chinatown hot chicken restaurant Howlin’ Ray’s, famous in the Before Times for its hours-long lines, has opened for delivery through Postmates. For now, the menu includes wings, chicken sandwich and sides, with a limited radius for delivery.

Dining with mannequins

The Inn at Little Washington, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Virginia, announced that after reopening at 50% capacity this week in accordance with state distancing guidelines, it would fill vacant dining room tables with mannequins dressed in 1940s-era garb. The move was meant to “elicit a few smiles and provide some fun photo ops,” Patrick O’Connell, the restaurant’s chef and owner, told Fox 5 D.C., a local news station.

COVID-19 takeout fee

A restaurant in western Michigan has recently begun adding a $1 per meal “COVID charge” to help offset rising food and packaging costs. Owner Brad White of Goog’s Pub & Grub told local news station Fox 17 that he implemented the fee to cover the disposable containers and utensils he uses for to-go orders rather than raise menu prices. A restaurant in Missouri has instituted a similar fee.


Cited in Sherman Oaks

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Tuesday that his office had filed criminal complaints against 60 businesses operating in violation of the city’s Safer-At-Home order, including Hamptons 818, a brunch restaurant in Sherman Oaks. Adman Roushdy, the restaurant’s general manager, said the violation occurred because he had offered free drinks to customers who were waiting for their takeout orders. The restaurant will fight the charge, he said.

Momofuku closures

Momofuku is permanently closing two of its restaurants, Nishi in New York and CCDC in Washington, D.C., and consolidating staff at two other locations due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear what the closures mean for Majordomo, David Chang’s L.A. restaurant, or a Momofuku Noodle Bar slated to open in West Hollywood.

Beaches still no picnic

After being closed for nearly two months, L.A. beaches are now open, though visitors are being asked to maintain physical distance and wear a mask unless entering the water. Only active use is permitted currently, which means no sunbathing, picnics or other gatherings.