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Downtown Grand Rapids restaurants excited to be open

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 08:26:56-04

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurants in Michigan are officially open for dine-in service Monday, June 8th.

Even if it’s only at 50% capacity, restaurant managers say they’re just happy to be back.

“It’s just nice to be able to be out in public again,” said one diner enjoying brunch on the patio at Sundance Grill in downtown Grand Rapids.

It’s a shared sentiment for everyone dining out Monday and for restaurants, the feeling is mutual.

(trudy billow, district manager, sundance grill)

“I couldn’t sleep last night, I was so excited,” said Trudy Billow, District Manager for Sundance Grill.

Sundance Grill is back with their full staff and regular hours, but the experience will be just a little different.

Billow said, “Everyone’s got to wear a mask, we are social distancing, we are in the restaurant business, we wash our hands all the time.”

Other spots like Cinco de Mayo are taking those steps and more.

Albert Torres, Cinco de Mayo’s Manager said, “We did paper menus, so we can use the menu and we can throw it away. I don’t have to clean the menu every time someone uses it.”

Social distancing is equally important for customers who just want to physically be in their favorite spots.

That includes Mike Aguilar didn’t want to eat out alone, so he brought a cardboard cutout of himself to sit with him in a booth.

“My friends were busy, or couldn’t make brunch and I was so excited to get back and wanted someone to come with me and I don’t like eating alone, so I brought cardboard Mike.”

Both restaurants were hit hard by riots two weeks ago.

Torres said, “I came here to hide my computer, but I wasn’t able to do nothing, there was a big group of people outside and I wasn’t going to risk my life for something material.”

Billow added that while their establishment took on a lot of damage, it was heartening to see what happened next.

She said, “It was devastating, but the best thing was the community the next day. “

While windows and furniture can be replaced, any restaurant will tell you, their customers can’t.

Billow said, “I miss Dave not having coffee morning every day waking us up, so that’s been the most exciting part, just to see our guests.”

That’s why they’re eager for this new chapter.

“We wanted to get back out into the community, we’ve got to get our people back to work and we miss them all,” said Billow.