ST. LOUIS — For many, May 18 brought a few things to celebrate.
“We’ve got people who are already coming inside talking about, 'I'm so excited to celebrate my birthday, my birthday was during quarantine, but we're celebrating it now,’” said Amber Lanwermeyer of the Soda Fountain at Union Station.
Moments after reopening, the restaurant had its first customers in months — the old-fashioned soda fountain-style restaurant within the entertainment district was unable to pivot to a curbside or delivery model.
“Ice cream melts,” said Lanwermeyer. “So, we've definitely been looking forward to really opening ever since we've closed and just seeing smiling faces coming through the door again.”
Restaurants around the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County are allowed to resume dine-in service as of Monday, with new guidelines. Those include limited capacity, with guests seated at tables 6 feet or a divider apart, and those surfaces need to be regularly wiped down by mask-wearing employees.
“We're encouraging guests that are coming in to wear masks. Just, you know, do what they've been doing in their homes the past few months, but do it here — adhering to social distancing, being patient and being excited to be out again,” said Lanwermeyer.
Kaldi’s closed all cafes back in March. After reopening some locations for to-go orders, you can now dine-in at the Kirkwood, Chesterfield and Demun shops.
“I think you can definitely feel safe in knowing that we are, especially at Kaldi’s and I think at other places as well, that we are doing everything on our part to make our cafes as safe as possible,” said Andrew McCaslin.
Even as dining rooms reopen, many spots will keep curbside services rolling to keep bringing in business until everyone feels comfortable going back inside.
“We still want to provide those options,” said McCaslin. “You need to feel safe and you need to feel comfortable, so that is absolutely priority number one for people.”
For health or even business reasons, many local places aren’t set to welcome guests inside quite yet. But if you’re craving a little normalcy, reopened spots hope to give you a taste of just that.
“With the quarantine, and everybody having to shelter in place for so long, there definitely has to be some hunger to get back out there and just see the city you live in again,” said McCaslin.