San Francisco Restaurants Hopeful Thanksgiving Can be Their Saving Grace

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Proving to be creative and resilient once again, some restaurant owners in San Francisco are hoping Thanksgiving can be a saving grace. 

Just because restaurants are once again limited to takeout or outdoor dining, it doesn’t mean kitchens are quiet. Many are now making meal kits for people to take home during the holiday.

Lord Stanley in Russian Hill is known for tacos, burgers, and fish and chips. But this upcoming holiday, they’re fixing a Thanksgiving dinner complete with all your favorite sides.

 “To be able to continue to operate with the restrictions that are going to be in place over the next year, we’ll have to carry on with to-go as well as indoor dining,” said chef and owner of Lord Stanley, Rupert Blease.

He said business is down 70% even with the additional to-go meal kits, yet it’s something he’ll keep in his business model as long as there’s a need. 

“We’ve just done as many different things as possible and trying to reach out to a different demographic, not only our neighborhood or people looking for a special occasion, but doing a bit of everything to continue doing business and making it enjoyable for everyone still working here,” said Blease.

Co-owner and general manager of Cassava in the inner Richmond can relate. Yuka Ioroi says they’ve been doing meal kits since March as well, so it was a no-brainer to offer a full Thanksgiving feast for families to enjoy at home.

“I think it was the natural progression of 2020,” said Ioroi, who doesn’t think crowds at restaurants will rebound for another two years.

But she says, they have to keep doing what they love, even if that means designating pickup spots around the city and driving their food to places that aren’t near the restaurant.

“Is it helping the bottom line? Not really. But it’s helping our spirits per se,” said Ioroi. 

While Lord Stanley and Cassava have both sold out of their Thanksgiving meal kits, Rupert encourages people who are staying home to order in from any local spot.

“They’re going to put a beautiful package together and you’ll be able to finish it at home and still have that home-cooking feeling to it,” he said.

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