Despite Harris County’s crystal clear restrictions on dine-in service in effect through the month, Memorial-area newcomer Federal Grill will go ahead and start serving its comfort foods and whiskeys inside anyway, reports CultureMap.
Federal Grill’s second Houston location, which opened in Hedwig Village right before the COVID-19 crisis hit this year, plans to reboot dinner service to the public starting Friday, April 24 (8731 Katy Freeway).
Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo’s “stay at home, work safe” order runs through April 30, requiring all “nonessential” businesses like restaurants to close to customers, while maintaining takeout and delivery options
“I know some people won’t like it, but on the other side I think it’s time to open this economy back up — carefully, very carefully,” restaurateur Matt Brice tells the pub.
Harris County’s “stay at home” order states that “restaurants, bars, micro-breweries, micro-distilleries, wineries and other establishments that serve food, with or without drive-in or drive-through services, are prohibited from serving food for consumption on the premises and may only serve food and/or alcohol by take out, delivery, or drive-through services.”
Brice acknowledged that he will be directly defying the orders by serving customers food in the dining room, but told CultureMap he got the green light to open from the small-town mayor of Hedwig Village. He says the mayor, along with other high-profiles locals, snagged seats for its comeback dinner on Friday.
He also states that he will comply if law enforcement orders him to shut down. “I’m not here to break any laws or get arrested,” he says. “I just want to see us move along a little bit faster.”
Precautions will include temperature checks for employees at the start of each shift; only seating 30-percent of the 240-seat restaurant’s normal capacity; and using disposable menus and condiments, to name a few. Seating areas will be sanitized after every guest and the restaurant will use contact-less payments like Venmo or PayPal.
In addition, all staff will sport masks and gloves, and bathroom attendants will double as bouncers — only letting in one person at a time.
The 7,000-square-foot, brick-lined destination off I-10, stocked with a long list of Scotch and Japanese whiskeys, makes comfort classics like kung pao calamari, shrimp and grits, and chicken fried steak from an open kitchen. Federal Grill’s longtime original location on Shepherd Drive will maintain takeout and delivery options as usual.