I know that I owe dosage MAGAZINE readers a massive look-see into the minutiae of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 dining out (meaning take-out) scene. The only reason I haven’t hit that head on the nail is that the ups and downs of take-out have been such a moving target with restaurant owners and chefs starting, stopping, and coming into the game late.
The Schulson Collective – Chef/CEO Michael Schulson and President Nina T. Tinari – of Philadelphia and Atlantic City restaurants waited through the start of the coronavirus, the state and city mandated losings and the word as to who was essential or not to start their dining program, #StayHomeWithSchulson.
With take-out and delivery now available between 3 to 8 pm, Wednesdays through Sunday at Giuseppe & Sons, Double Knot and Sampan, Michael and Nina alerted dosage MAGAZINE and I, as to why they waited before they leaped into the portable food fray.
“This has been very difficult on everyone at the Collective,” said Tinari. “What we are realizing is that the most challenging part has been losing the social interaction that we are accustomed to and adjusting to virtual socialization.”
To that, Schulson added, “We decided to close all of our restaurants before the Mayor and Governor issued the closures of non-essential businesses. Information regarding COVID-19 was rapidly changing and with so many unknowns, and as members of the community, the only way to stop the spread was to temporarily close our doors until it was safe to reopen.”
By the way, while the married Schulson and Tinari were home before they kicked into action, they watched Ozark, The Stranger, and Bloodline on Netflix, and Truth Be Told on Apple +TV.
After careful deliberation, they jumped into the fire, so to speak, with the #StayHomeWithSchulson initiative after stopping the spread and flattening the curve. “There is an increased demand for take-out and delivery as many people at home are tired of cooking every night and going to a grocery store has its challenges as this virus is highly contagious,” said the chef. “But, we never did takeout before. This is our first time doing it at the restaurants.”
Choosing three diverse restaurants within the Schulson continuum – Italian with Giuseppe & Sons, differing components of Pan-Asian with Sampan and Double Knot – came down to starting with, but a few of their restaurants, (“to ensure systems are in place and working effectively. We are looking to open the others in the near future”) and doing most of each of that hot spot’s menu (“as that’s what we think people want and will see how it goes…”).
Rather than use one kitchen (“that would be an issue with social distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC and Governor of PA…”), Schulson has opened all three kitchens with several skeleton crews staying as far from each other as possible.
“This virus does not discriminate,” noted Tinari. “We have all been impacted immensely.”