Updated: Mar 5, 2021
March 2020 – ???
Restaurants all around the country, and the fifteen million people they employ, have been in a precarious position for a year now. Some of my favorites have shuttered. Many have beefed-up on-line ordering, takeout, and delivery options. Some have started offering or ramped up promotions for exclusive chef dinners. I hope the restaurants that make up our fabulous, foodie cities can weather this storm and I raise my glass to the fallen.
Owner Sean Traynor’s Cotton and Copper is one of the Arizona beloveds having to shutter. Their self-proclaimed mission was, “to prepare food that focused on local farms with foraged ingredients, craft cocktails…and employ an amazing team of friends & staff.” Restaurants often have a profit margin between 3% and 6% of sales. Cotton and Copper, like many restaurants, need to consistently operate at full capacity. With the pandemic, that just wasn’t possible. I am excited to see what comes next for Traynor.
The restaurant mogul of Fox Restaurant Concepts, including Culinary Dropout, North Italia, and Flowerchild, acquired by The Cheesecake Factory in 2019, Sam Fox opened a takeout-only restaurant, Fly Bye, amid the pandemic. Fly Bye is a smart restaurant concept with the model of digital ordering and takeout or delivery. I miss that intimacy of sitting around a table at a restaurant, that deep breath before a communal experience. There’s no denying Fox is a savvy restaurateur and yet, I hope this pivot does not permeate the landscape. As nice as take-out can be, it’s the rest and delight of a restaurant dining experience I crave.
Chef Christopher Collins, owner of Common Ground Culinary including The Collins and The Macintosh, is promoting “Chef’s Dinners” out of his catering division, Arcadia Catering Company. Chef Collins and his team will bring dinner to you, creating an individualized menu, serving each course, and even doing the dishes.
I hope you feel safe dining with precautions. Arizona has some of the best restaurant patios in the world. Whether inside or dining al fresco, I appreciate chefs and owners who are getting creative and taking care to keep all of us safe so we may keep enjoying the respite and pleasure of marvelous food we do not have to cook ourselves.