Due to COVID-19, many UNC classes are online, and typical hot spots on campus aren’t so popular nowadays. The UNC that students left behind in early March has changed due to social distancing and safety precautions.
However, there's one way students can feel at home even though campus looks different — food.
Restaurants, coffee shops and bars on Franklin Street are slowly reopening, bringing some familiarity back to life as a UNC student. Here’s a list of places, old and new, that have opened their doors to the public.
Due to a local ordinance established in July, which will remain in effect until Aug. 31, sit-in alcohol and food sales in Orange County are banned after 10 p.m. Additionally, patrons are not permitted to sit or stand at a bar, as it constitutes as a shared surface that could increase the spread of COVID-19, according to the declaration.
The state of North Carolina has prohibited bars and nightclubs from reopening. According to Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order, breweries, wineries and distilleries may reopen.
Under these guidelines, many of Chapel Hill’s favorites are permitted to continue service while practicing social distancing. Here are the bars that are open due to their food service:
- Pantana Bob’s
- Linda’s Bar & Grill
- Carolina Brewery
- The Dead Mule Club
- Might As Well Bar & Grill
- TRU Deli and Wine Bar
All must follow social distancing guidelines established by Cooper. Indoor seating must be restricted to 50 percent capacity. Masks must be worn by employees at all times, and patrons must wear them upon arrival.
TRU Deli and Wine Bar introduced a fully online ordering system.
Caroline Hinesley, a front-of-house employee at TRU, said business has been steady since they reopened. She said people have responded well to online ordering, but they have had to limit their menu.
“We’re no longer doing cocktails or appetizers,” said Hinesley. “We’re just doing our salads and sandwiches, and beer and wine. So that’s a little upsetting.”
Bars such as He’s Not Here, Goodfellows and The Library, which do not serve food and aren’t classified as breweries, distilleries or wineries, risk staying closed longer, as per the executive order.
He’s Not Here made its own adjustments, newly classified as a “retail beverage venue.” It is now considered a bottle shop with outdoor seating, selling six-packs of beer and cider to-go. This change in operation allowed it to reopen Aug. 4.
These bars are closed for now:
- The Library
- Blue Horn Lounge
Quick bites, coffee and sweets
Although no business has had it easy, the transition was simpler for those who already relied heavily on takeout orders.
On-the-go eateries like The Purple Bowl, Chipotle, The Pizza Press, Hibachi & Company, Mediterranean Deli and Time-Out are currently open, relying heavily on takeout orders. Of these, The Pizza Press and Mediterranean Deli allow patrons to dine in as well.
Coffee shops on Franklin Street have walked a similar path. Perennial Café and Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews, which hadn’t even reached one year of operations before the pandemic forced it to close, offer takeout and curbside orders. According to its website, Epilogue will begin offering indoor seating Tuesday.
Christine Schwarz, Epilogue’s customer experience and media lead, said while COVID-19 did hurt their business initially, online orders for books and other products by local businesses kept them afloat. She said they look forward to opening this coming week with a reservation system.
"Just so that we can allow everybody to have an opportunity, we are requiring reservations made online for one-hour chunks," Schwarz said. "We are also asking a minimum purchase of about $8-10.”
The Starbucks locations in Target and on Franklin Street are open for takeout only. Mobile ordering is available for the free-standing location.
On the sweeter side of things, Yogurt Pump is also open for takeout. The ordering window opens to the outside to avoid the close-quartered nature of the space, and the rotating flavors and various toppings are written in chalk along the wall. If frozen yogurt doesn’t fit the craving, Ben & Jerry’s offers takeout ice cream as well.
Insomnia Cookies offers its cookie delivery service until 12 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Takeout from the storefront is also available.
Following months of only takeout food and at-home cooking, enjoying a meal out with friends is most likely top of the list for many students. Luckily for them, the Phase 2 executive order allows dining at 50 percent capacity, and many restaurants on Franklin Street are on board.
Spicy 9, a typically busy sushi bar and Asian restaurant, recently reopened its dining room at the end of July. Until then, they were strictly delivery and takeout.
Que Chula, a Mexican restaurant that replaced Hops Burger Bar in March, began dining service for the very first time in May. According to their website, their original open date was in April.
Monze Ruiz, a shift leader at Que Chula, said the restaurant had a slow start, especially opening for the first time during a pandemic.
“Initially it was pretty rough,” she said. “We didn’t have a big flow of people, and being a brand new restaurant — people wanna go to places they’re already familiar with.”
Ruiz said their social media has increased exposure, and now they are steadily busy. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, Que Chula is able to function well despite social distancing guidelines.
Here are some other restaurants open for dine-in service:
- Sup Dogs
- Carolina Coffee Shop
- 411 West
- Cosmic Cantina
- Four Corners
Some have outdoor seating, but those that do not have adjusted their dining rooms to meet social distancing standards.
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