Graphic by Jennifer Notman
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on throughout the world, it seems like we will never go back to our normal lives. Many people have not been to movies, seen their families or been to restaurants since March of this year. When the lockdown first began in March, many restaurants had to close their doors until the virus was more under control. As of now, many restaurants are open for outdoor eating, but there are still some restrictions as indoor dining has still not been allowed by the county. However, the recent loosened restrictions have made it easier for the small businesses here in Walnut Creek.
When Las Lomas alumni Joe Stein, the owner of Sunrise Bistro, a downtown restaurant which has been in Walnut Creek since 1981, first got the news of the lockdown, he knew his business was at risk right away: “Catering is a big part of business and because of the lockdown we ended up having to lay off all of our catering staff.” With a significant portion of his business gone in an instant, Stein knew he had to think of something big. This is when Stein came up with an idea that could help feed doctors, nurses and other first responders as well as save his business: “Within a week of the shutdown we launched a GoFundMe page allowing crowdfunding to buy meals for hospital workers to help feed first responders. We were able to provide 5,000 meals for 15 different hospitals and we got to be able to keep 75% of our staff.” Stein has been able to raise 75,000 dollars and provide 5,000 meals through his GoFundMe page to help feed hospital workers, police officers and firefighters while saving his business at the same time. The loosened restrictions have let Sunrise get a boost in business but it is still not what it used to be. Stein said, “I think it’s a mixed bag. We opened the deck a month ago so we have outside seating now so that’s a bonus but during the fires and smoke COVID has taken a backseat sometimes.”
It is unlikely that indoor dining will return to restaurants until cases are down greatly but there are still many ways to get food from your favorite restaurants in Walnut Creek. Downtown restaurants are now offering outdoor eating but if you are not comfortable with that, there are still other ways to eat food from restaurants. Many restaurants take orders from DoorDash and Uber Eats so you can have the food delivered to your house with an additional delivery fee. Other options include curbside pickup which is essentially take-out but you do not have to enter the store. Instead, an employee will bring your order to your car. Some restaurants also let you walk in to order and have you wait outside as well.