Lubbock restaurants react to reopening dine in for customers

Lubbock restaurants back open for business

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been six weeks since Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating restaurant close their indoor dining services and move to drive-thru, pick up or delivery orders for customers.

On Monday, Abbott announced restaurants could open their doors to customers, but had to limit their capacity to 25 percent, along with other rules. No more than six people per group at each table and the table has to be at least 6 feet apart from each other. Dine-in customers will see a few changes like disposable menus, condiments served only upon request, and in single-serving portions, along with a hand sanitizing station and more.

KCBD talked to the owner of Cast Iron Grill, as well as the owner of Orlando’s and Caprock Café to find out what the last six weeks have been like, and the learning curve that they’ve faced.

“When the dining room closed. We obviously went to curbside. And we were a complete disaster at it. We were actually horrible at it,” said Teresa Stephens, owner of Cast Iron Grill Lubbock, “You would think after 13 years that you could really change quickly, and we did not.”

Stephens and her staff were able to learn each day and finally got the hang of it.

“After a couple of weeks I think we did it right, but it's taken quite a bit of time,” said Stephens.

David Cea, owner of Caprock Café and Orlando’s said they faced a similar learning curve.

“The first week was crazy because we had to completely change our model of business, we had never done that kind of volume to-go and delivery and so it took us a week to figure it out but now we’ve actually got it. We’ve gotten really good at it,” said Cea, “Today we have to change back the way we used to do it and so it’s like shifting gears midstream, you know. But the good thing is we’ll have a whole new way of doing business when we get done here.”

Caprock Café and Orlando’s locations opened their doors Friday. Cast Iron Grill said they’re opening Monday. Both Stephens and Cea said they’re following the rules and guidelines set by the state.

Coleman Nock and Josh Malek talked about being able to go into a restaurant and dine in for the first time in six weeks.

“I’m glad to see everybody coming out supporting local businesses and getting this economy going back again,” said Nock, “I mean- I lost my job over this whole situation. I’m ready to get ready to watch everything kick back up and get everybody moving again, making money. Everybody feels the same. Most people.”

“Yeah, It’s the first time to sit down and eat and have a drink at a restaurant over seven or eight weeks,” said Malek, “This is one of our favorite places and we’ve been coming here for years. Clean atmosphere, sanitizing everything. I feel safe, so let’s go back to work.”

Both Stephens and Cea said overall, their top priority is safety for their employees and customers and they both can’t wait to see their customers again.

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