Not marketed for take-out, Brooklyn restaurant turns to social media to take orders in latest wave of COVID-19 – CBS New York


NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – A Brooklyn restaurant that has had to deal with delays and problems in addition to increasing COVID-19 cases is pivoting to allow for its survival.

After months of setbacks, the owner has decided to take a new approach, CBS2’s Leah Mishkin reported Monday.

READ MORE: Some restaurants and Broadway shows forced to temporarily close due to COVID-19 cases, tests

Brooklyn-born Calvin Eng said opening a Cantonese-American restaurant has been his goal for some time. He took the plunge about 10 months ago and signed a lease in Williamsburg. His first day of service was December 3.

Bonnie’s was slated to open this summer, but inspections, the wait for gas and the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused delays.

“I had to park probably three houses down because I couldn’t drive any further,” Eng said, adding when asked if there had been any flooding in the restaurant, “No, only our basement, luckily. “

COVID VACCINE

Friday, he was going to celebrate his two weeks of service. But two hours before the opening, plans changed. His team decided to switch to a take-out model, instead of having dinner there with proof of vaccination.

“What made you make that call to say, ‘OK, you know what? Now is the time. Shall we stop and go get some take out? ‘ Mishkin said.

“Honestly, it was the entire management team that put our brains together. It was just too risky. We know too many boosted people who have tested positive, ”Eng said.

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Chef Eng said the restaurant was never meant to be a take out place. It was not on any delivery site and did not have a pickup option on its website. So he used what he had: social media.

“I took orders through Instagram DMs. My general manager would call all reservations to cancel them. My sous chef was making all the cooks, making all the take out boxes, ”Eng said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The 27-year-old has said through all the challenges he constantly remembers why he wanted to open in the first place.

“To educate people about Cantonese cuisine and be a part of the evolution of Cantonese cuisine here in America,” said Eng. “Bonnie is my mother’s name, which was given to her when she immigrated here from Hong Kong. Everything I know about Cantonese cuisine I learned from her.

Chef Eng said the restaurant will be monitoring the number of COVID cases to see how to move forward. He doesn’t plan to open a restaurant there before Christmas.

From next week, diners 12 and over will have to prove that they have received two doses of the vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. New York City‘s mandate will be extended even further at the end of January to include children between the ages of 5 and 11.

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Leah Mishkin of CBS2 contributed to this report.

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