Restaurant owners tackle biggest day of the year while navigating curbside service

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Restaurant owners across Arkansas are still trying to navigate a new normal. Mother’s Day proved to be even more difficult because it’s the biggest day of the year for the businesses. Now, as they get used to this new way of getting food out the door, they also are deciding whether to open their doors for dine in service. 

It wasn’t the typical Mother’s Day brunch restaurant owners like At The Corner owner Helen Grace King is used to.

“The restaurant is completely full and then a line wrapped around for all of shift,” King said.

This year, the seats were empty, the tables were filled with to go orders and the line was bumper to bumper traffic.

“Today four blocks of cars. The line was truly goosebump worthy. I mean it stopped us in our tracks,” King said.

She said some families had to wait an hour to get their order and their biggest day of the year didn’t go as smooth as when their dining room was open.

“That’s heartbreaking and I could easily cry about it right now just because this restaurant is our heart and soul you know,” King said.

Right now, her staff is still trying to get used to this new way of serving customers.

“We stay between 15-20 minutes even with that line wrapped around. Like we’re a well oiled machine and curbside is just well..kicking us to the curb,” King said.

While restaurants can open Monday at 1/3 capacity, for this small diner that’s only two tables.

“There’s no way restaurants could prepare for this,” King said.

Meeting cars at the curb is the only way they’ll be serving their meals for the foreseeable future.

“We’re still at least open. It might be curbside but at least we’re here for families,” King said.

As King waits and hopes for more restrictions to be lifted, she says they’ll use each day as a learning experience.

“I guarantee you no matter what we are going to try our hardest,” King said.

At The Corner isn’t the only restaurant who’s waiting to open their doors. Many restaurants across Central Arkansas are sticking to take out and curbside until they get more guidance from the Governor and Arkansas Department of Health.

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