CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Like everything else in 2020, COVID-19 is changing up Cleveland Restaurant Week.
“This is a reality check for us. We’re all hurting right now,” said Bridget Thibeault, the owner of Luna Bakery and Café in Cleveland Heights.
In a city known for its craft beer and cuisine, this pandemic is putting many of our favorite places to grab a pint or a bite at risk.
“Most of us are looking at about 50% of our normal sales. We’re all just trying to survive the winter,” Thibeault said.
For the first time ever, dining deals from 40 restaurants will be carry-out, with a few also offering them on-site.
“We at Luna are doing a brunch to go which you could have for dinner,” said Thibeault.
Thibeault is also a board member of Cleveland Independents, which represents nearly 100 businesses like hers, most of which have needed to add extra staff because of the pandemic, she said.
“We’re managing all these different apps and deliveries and curbside, so it just takes a lot more manpower to make it happen. And when your sales are lower, the numbers don’t work,” said Thibeault.
Thibeault said even though the menu for restaurant week is discounted – there is wiggle room.
“A lot of these restaurants have really thoughtfully put together menus that are profitable, that do travel well,” said Thibeault.
The popular event to help diversify people's palates is now seen more as a much-needed lifeline for participating restaurants.
“Restaurants typically only profit about 5%,” said Thibeault. "I’m planning on being here next year whatever it takes.”
If the 12 days of dining discounts are successful, we may see a winter edition of Cleveland Restaurant Week to Go.
“If you’re going to go out and support us, please support local because it really makes a difference,” said Thibeault.