Some Twin Cities restaurants carefully reopen to indoor diners

The dial to reopening Minnesota has turned again Wednesday, with gyms reopening and some restaurants serving indoor diners.

After restaurants closed in mid-March, many customers are ready to revisit their favorite places.

With the exception of one day attempting to serve take out, this is the first time the 508 Bar + Restaurant has served a customer since mid-March. 

General Manager Jon Merz admits he feels like he’s walking on eggshells.

“It’s different, clearly, but it feels really good to be back," Merz said. “We’re just doing everything we can to make sure people feel comfortable, and we’re following the guidelines we’ve been given."

From staff wearing masks and gloves, to social distancing arrangements and amped up sanitation, the restaurant scene will still look pretty different.

But while many restaurants are welcoming guests inside Wednesday, many are not. They cite a large variety of reasons, including the need to train staff and getting ingredients for dishes quick enough. 

The owner of Pourhouse calls the eight pages of guidelines from the state “laughable” and also impossible, especially the “no dancing” rule and the rule instructing servers to take orders from behind the customer.

Meanwhile, at Centro in northeast Minneapolis, everyone stepping inside gets a temperature check. And, as much as owner Jami Olson would like to move beyond take-out orders, she’s still pivoting to open up for patio service, which will start Friday.

However, indoor dining both here and for her more formal restaurant, Popul Vuh, don’t have an open date yet. 

“It’s a lot of work, and we want to be careful. It’s very tender… these are very tender circumstances, and we want to make sure we are doing it right and the staff is ready and the community is ready,” Olson said.

Despite the the new normal everyone is adjusting to, those quick to make their required reservations are eating up the opportunity they’ve been missing.