Tables turn: Bars and restaurants resume dine-in service

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — New Hotel Mertens in Grand Rapids has reopened. While the owner is dealing with the pressure of owning a business in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, he’s pressing forward.

“It has been a real struggle,” said Anthony Tangorra, owner of New Hotel Mertens. “We had to be pretty creative and resilient to get through.”

Restaurants and bars across Michigan reopened to customers with capacity limits Monday.

Now Tangorra’s load is lightened.

“We’re very excited to get through this final hurdle of actually opening New Hotel Merterns again,” he said.

Tangorra reopened his cafe and rooftop bar. Workers won’t offer table service. Instead, they’ll take orders online and serve food and drinks out of a service window.

“It’s magical up here on the rooftop, so we want to get a little taste of that magic back,” Tangorra said.

On the ground, Sundance Grill & Bar reopened its doors at 6 a.m.

“It’s so exciting,” said Trudy Billow, district manager of Sundance Grill & Bar. “To be honest, it just puts a smile on my face.”

Billow is especially grateful to resume service after rioters attacked her restaurant just over a week ago.

“I’m going to get emotional because this is a great community and that Saturday night was devastating,” Billow said.

Inside, workers asked customers to wear masks until they got to the table.

“We want everybody to stay safe,” Billow said.

Despite the changes, families told News 8 they are glad to support local businesses.

“I feel like we want to give back just because we don’t want to see them shut down,” Chloe Veldhof said.

Though dine-in service looks different, it’s a welcomed opportunity for workers to get back in business.

“We’re excited to get started,” Tangorra said.

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