The State of the Food Scene

Your weekly winter-dining update

As we shift into the final months of the year with the pandemic still weighing heavily on our minds, dining establishments are again having to adjust – this time to adapt to the changing weather. The summer months graced us with mild weather, which allowed many businesses to take advantage of outdoor spaces and the lower disease-transmission risk that comes with them, but now, as temperatures and hours of sunlight decrease, restaurateurs face a new challenge.

Chop in Sister Bay moved to take-out service only as of Nov. 5, citing the “increase in cases locally and statewide.” 

We’ve already seen the early closing of some places that, in past years, were beginning to enjoy a lengthened season through the end of October and into November. 

Grasse’s Grill in Sister Bay is one restaurant that would normally have stayed open until cold weather forced the proprietors to winterize, but pandemic concerns caused them to close at the end of August. They still serve soup on select weekends, though, as a way to keep in touch with customers and offer a sense of community when so many people are feeling that void. 

“I’ve learned that I thrive on the people I see at Grasse’s,” Jessica Grasse said, “and this is a way to see them – even through the mask or the window.” 

This week, Husby’s Bar and Grill in Sister Bay – a reliable, year-round establishment – announced that it will close for 10 days, Nov. 9-18, to give its staff a much-needed break. Husby’s experienced a series of stops and starts during the summer as one of the first places in Northern Door to have to fully close after a staff coronavirus exposure. 

Husby’s also announced recently that the new bar space it added next door – The Filling Station – will be available for private rentals. The heated space has garage doors, two flat-screen TVs and enough space to spread out.

At the Fireside Restaurant in Egg Harbor, it’s been a year of strict safety precautions and outdoor-only dining. Still, a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, which led to a brief closure. 

As of Oct. 21, the Fireside was back open for outdoor patio dining and contactless curbside pickup. They have yet to offer indoor dining but have noted, “You can bet we will take only the safest approach when doing so.”

In Sturgeon Bay, Wanda Jean’s Family Restaurant, which has offered car-hop service all season, put out this statement: “As we continue to see cases rising, we will continue seating at 25 percent capacity, no matter how many times the courts appeal the executive order. We will also be continuing following all of the CDC guidelines and requiring masks!”

Do you run a dining establishment in Door County? Send us updates on how you’re adapting to safely navigate the indoor-dining season.

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