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How 5 St. Louis restaurants fared in first week back to dine-in service

"The weekend, Friday and Saturday, were off about 60%, due in part to the table distancing"
Credit: SLBJ
Paul Hamilton

ST. LOUIS — Paul Hamilton reopened his five restaurants, including Eleven Eleven Mississippi and Vin de Set, for dine-in service last week with a bit of trepidation.

"I was nervous going in," he said. How would customers react to safety measures, such as table distancing and staff in masks? How would his staff respond?

After more than a week back, Hamilton is more than satisfied even though business was down compared with a normal week.

"Business was very good for dinner, off maybe 25% for the week," he said. "The weekend, Friday and Saturday, were off about 60%, due in part to the table distancing."

Given the need for distancing and less capacity, the lower-than-normal traffic was less surprising to Hamilton than the customer reaction. "Everybody was very nice, in a great mood and in good spirits," he said. "No one complained about the staff wearing masks, and tipping was above and beyond. That was very evident."

Lunches were the slowest, off about 80%, which Hamilton attributes to so many people still working from home.

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