Howard County’s summer Restaurant Week is in full swing, not a moment too soon for Main Street restaurants that have been struggling during the pandemic. This year it will be a restaurant week unlike any other considering the industry’s continued efforts to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus
Restaurants in historic Ellicott City are getting to be old hands at unexpected challenges. This year, participating restaurants will be operating at half capacity for indoor dining and will be offering curbside pick up and on-line ordering to keep us well-fed and happy.
We checked in with some of OEC’s restaurants to see how the latest challenges to the town are forcing them to once again adjust and innovate.
Jeni Porter at the Little Market Café says one of the biggest challenges she has faced is figuring out how to rework the business to stay afloat financially while also being as responsible as possible to both staff and customers. Communication and respect are key, she says, which means keeping on top of the ever-changing public health requirements has become something of a full-time job.
Other eateries, like UMI Sushi, have shifted the majority of their focus to carry-out dining and have maximized every possible inch of nearby outdoor seating to expand capacity.
Randy Marriner, owner of The Manor Hill Tavern, says that the pandemic “forced us to develop competencies we didn’t know we had. Like online ordering, curbside service, cross-training our staff to so anyone can step into any position at any location.“ Manor Hill Tavern has also opened more outdoor seating behind the old theatre.
The County is doing as much as it can to help, of course, approving temporary outdoor seating arrangements and loosening restrictions on sidewalk seating, when possible.
For a full list of the Ellicott City eateries participating in restaurant week, visit https://www.visithowardcounty.com/restaurants/old-ellicott-city/