GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - As the country celebrates National Take-Out Day, restaurants on the Gulf Coast, like Nezaty’s Cafe in Gulfport, that would normally have very full dining rooms, now rely on take-out to keep the bills paid.
“On a typical day the cafe would be pretty full, even a few standing in line waiting for tables, and even Waitr was a pretty heavy day for us," said Linsey O’Keefe, Owner of Nezaty’s Cafe.
And now, like many others, O’Keefe has to be flexible to keep her customers fed. That means a lot of deliveries and take-out, which started for her cafe on Monday.
“Before then, we still had the dining room open, just a ten people limit. But, a lot of businesses are closing and people are staying home more. Yesterday, was a steady day for us as far as take-out orders go. We’re still trying to hold on and keep up with what’s going on and what the next step is," O’Keefe said.
Even restaurants like the Half Shell Oyster House, whose business is built around dining experience, have also had to shift their focus to take-out.
“Everything’s changed dramatically. Business has dropped off significantly. We have managed to pick up with our to-go orders as well as our family meals for four. It has increased and helped the community tremendously," said Half Shell Oyster House Front of House Manager, Dylan Wells.
Despite the operational challenges faced by all restaurants on the Gulf Coast, Wells says that Half Shell plans to continue to deliver what their guests expect.
“While we’re doing this limited menu in this limited environment, we’re still going to be producing and providing the Half Shell service that we’re known for and striving to continue to have customer relations at the top level," Wells said.
With restaurants in South Mississippi changing the way they feed their customers, one Gulfport restaurant is changing the game completely.
Even though their format has also switched to carry-out and to-go, the people at The Rack House Steak & Spirits are taking their expertise a step further.
“We went from a restaurant without a dining room to offering curbside. But, the biggest change is definitely going to be the fact that we’ve converted into the Coast’s new butcher shop," said Rack House General manager Miles Gullett.
Gullett now offers many of the Rack House’s favorites to take home and prepare in the comfort of your own kitchen.
“Our ribeye loins are strip loins. All of our prepared foods that were on our charcuterie board, you can buy. We can shave it, you can leave it whole and shave it yourself, you can make your own charcuterie board at home," Gullett said.
What would a steak or charcuterie board be without a Rack House spirit?
“Wine is half off by the bottle, and we’re still doing to-go drinks... all of your specialty cocktails that we’ve always offered. Our smoked old fashioned, we can teach you how to make them, whatever it may be. You can enjoy Rack House the same way you’ve always enjoyed it here, at home," Gullett told WLOX.
Additionally, Gullett said he’s also working on a catalog of household items that will also be available to order from the people at the Rack House.