Restaurant owners hopeful of lift on dine-in ban


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Take one step inside MeXo, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, and you’ll see beautiful art pieces all over.

Oscar Moreno, the restaurant’s executive chef, says the dining at his restaurant is more than just about the food. 

“So, you come in here and enjoy the visual art, prehistoric art from Mexico, authentic Mexican cuisine and we make everything in house,” Moreno said. 

But no one’s been looking at the art lately during the current ban on dine-in service, Moreno says.

Trying to stay afloat with takeout and delivery isn’t enough for the restaurant. Moreno says they’re only generating about 10 to 15 percent compared to normal times when customers could dine in.

“Basically, we laid off all of our employees,” Moreno said. “The management, we’ve been doing everything.”

Moreno was hopeful that restaurants could reopen dine-in service on Jan. 15, but he could potentially have to wait two more weeks. 

The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association put out a Facebook post stating that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will likely announce that restaurants may reopen on Feb. 1

“It was kind of in the back of our mind that it could happen,” Moreno said. 

Over at Osteria Rossa, owner Chris Perkey thinks the restaurant industry is being targeted.

“It feels like you’re being picked on as a restaurant owner, not going to lie,” Perkey said.

He too had hopes of opening on Jan. 15. 

“Even if it was the 15th, which would’ve been a Saturday, we’re closed Sunday (and) Monday anyway,” Perkey said. “We would’ve just opened for that one day, that would’ve been fine.”

Perkey believes his restaurant can take the right steps to open dine-in service safely.

“Be realistic, people are going to go out one way or another,” Perkey said. “At least here it’s controlled.”

He’s anxious to open but knows anything can happen. 

“The way the past 12 months have gone, we might have a blizzard that weekend,” Perkey said. “We’ll see what happens there.”

Whitmer is expected to hold a press conference Wednesday, though a time has not yet been set.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links