Frankfort Ave. restaurants reopen with live music, new menu items

Frankfort Ave. restaurants reopen with live music, new menu items

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Several restaurants on Frankfort Ave. in Louisville reopened their dining rooms Friday under Gov. Beshear’s Healthy at Work plan.

At Varanese, live music from the Jeff Sherman Trio set the mood while diners sat six feet apart and staff wore face masks and plastic gloves. The restaurant reopened its dining room Friday night with indoor seating limited to 33 percent capacity.

General Manager David Allen told WAVE 3 News he was expecting about 80 guests when he would normally see over 200 on a typical Friday.

“We’re really happy to be back open. It’s been a long two plus months,” he said. “We appreciate all the help the community gave us while we were shut down with our curbside service, but really happy to be back open with the band back playing with us and having the staff back to work.”

On Friday, Varanese rolled out disposable menus with QR codes so patrons could see their options online.

Staff sanitized the restaurant throughout the night, drawing supplies from three different sanitation stations around the restaurant.

Outdoor seating at Varanese spilled out onto the parking lot and sidewalk where diners like Ray Frye and Jessica McCoy, who made their reservation days ago, said they were happy to be around people again, even at a distance.

Frye told WAVE 3 News he had no hesitation when deciding to dine out for the first time in weeks.

“We’ve been cooped up for so long at home with nothing to do, so it’s really refreshing to come out and have dinner at a nice place. I’m tired of cooking,” Frye said.

Down the street at Bourbons Bistro, executive chef Jereme McFarland said he was excited to see customers again.

McFarland told WAVE 3 News he was expecting almost 60 guests Friday, and the restaurant was taking various precautions to stay safe including hand sanitizer for all guests.

“We’re taking temperatures of staff when they enter the building. Staff are all wearing masks and gloves, and in the dining room we will have two people dedicated basically to cleaning and sanitizing all night,” he said.

When the dining room was closed, McFarland said sales were down 90 percent and limited to takeout orders only. Now, Bourbon’s Bistro is using indoor and outdoor seating, as well as overflow seating above the restaurant to accommodate as many diners as possible.

McFarland also expanded the restaurant’s menu in hopes of more busy nights to come.

“The only way we’re going to survive is if the local community helps us,” he said.

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