Bay Area Restaurants Faced With Thanksgiving Uncertainty

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One day after San Francisco’s mayor announced that a spike in COVID cases is prompting the city to shut down indoor dining, eateries that planned to serve at least some Thanksgiving meals indoors are scrambling to make new plans.

Going to the Top of the Mark for Thanksgiving is a tradition for many, and the hotel was making a number of changes to allow that to continue until Mayor London Breed’s announcement.

“We have a tradition here of hosting Thanksgiving brunch and lunch throughout the day,” said Michael Pace. “This year we had changed it obviously to be compliant with limited occupancy with 25% and menus that were tailored to be individually a la carte served.”

Pace is general manager of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. He says those plans changed the moment they announced the new rollback because of a spike in COVID cases. 

“Now it’s a matter of calling them back and saying ‘unfortunately we can't do that,’” he said. “For me the most difficult thing was to tell the staff that was going to come back.”

The hotel remains open, and the new plan is to pivot again.

“We definitely know Thanksgiving is not going to happen at the Top of the Mark but we’re going to do a to go orders online,” said Pace.

At Franco's Latin Table, the restaurant hoped to have limited indoor seating on Thanksgiving. Now they’re looking at all outdoor seating – weather permitting - and food to go.

“Since it's really cold now, we are going to open for lunch time and do small roast chicken for families, that way they can have small dinners at home,” said Mauricio Franco.

Pedro’s Restaurant and Cantina in Santa Clara is known for Mexican cuisine, but they’re changing it up for the holidays. To make up for lost sales, for the first time they will offer Thanksgiving dinner to go, with a Mexican twist.

“it is already prepared,” said Dora Garcia. “It’s a nine-course mean for six to eight people.”

Roasted turkey, stuffing with chorizo, tamales and margaritas to go.

Most of Pedro’s clients were from surrounding Silicon Valley offices that have now sat empty for months. They hope small innovations like this will help them stay afloat.

“It’s to help the business, to help our people, to help everybody,” Garcia said.

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