Toledo's smallest bars, restaurants make changes to serve customers safely

Published: May. 21, 2020 at 8:19 PM EDT
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From newcomers to longtime favorites, Toledo's smallest bars and restaurants are making it work in a world changed by COVID-19.

"We're really, really happy and fortunate that we're able to get people back in the restaurant," Souk Mediterranean general manager Sam Vause said.

Workers at the Warehouse District restaurant adjusted their relatively small space in order to start safely seating customers again on Thursday.

"We've eliminated about three tables in the front of the restaurant," Vause said. "Typically, we have 12 to 13 seats at the bar top, and now there's only six."

The crew also put Plexiglas barriers between booths, sealed social distancing stickers to the floor and moved to reservations to limit foot traffic.

"We would hate for people to drive in from Bowling Green or Perrysburg or Maumee and not have anything available for them," Vause said.

Meanwhile, at 101-year-old Coney Island Hot Dog Downtown Toledo, servers are following similar steps.

"It's something else we all have to deal with," manager Dawn Stechschulte said.

The beloved greasy spoon reopened last week for the first time since March 16 for carryout only. Now serving loyal customers in person again, Stechschulte says adapting to new rules is tough when it cuts down on seating.

"Just two people [can sit] at the counter and then [at] every other booth," Stechschulte said.

Whether serving tastes from around the world or from home, Toledo's small spots are changing it up to keep people safe while still doing business.

“We’re hoping in the next few months people can feel comfortable and careful coming out to dinner, and we’ll be here for them," Vause said.

While bars and restaurants do their part, diners also asked to do theirs, too. When possible, it's strongly recommended that you wear a mask to protect yourself and others. Diners also asked to simply stay home if they're feeling sick or are around others who are.