Business reopening during COVID-19
(Photo: iStock)

Eating out will feel different when Michigan restaurants reopen on Monday, June 8.

The state’s dining and drinking scene has been in crisis since March 16. On that date, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order ended indoor service at restaurants and bars throughout Michigan. She hoped reducing indoor crowding would slow the alarming spread of infections and death from COVID-19.

With the situation much improved in Michigan, the governor lifted her order as of Monday, June 8. Restaurants can reopen, but with new standards for cleanliness and sanitation. Look for facial masks, more paper menus, hand sanitizer and tables spaced 6 feet apart. After implementing health precautions, one question still remains: Will customers return?

A sampling of restaurants was contacted. Most recommend reservations.

Bar Verona in Commerce

(248) 387-5400;

The new protocol permits only six or fewer to dine together. Multiple parties may not wait in the vestibule. Before starting their shift, team members have their temperatures taken outside the building. They must certify to not experiencing flu-like symptoms within the past 24 hours. Staff involved with meal preparation go through extensive food handlers’ training for current certifications. Guest contact areas are sanitized regularly. The newest UV light technology is used nightly for sanitation. Contactless check payment is available.

Beverly Hills Grill in Beverly Hills

(248) 642-2355;

Proprietor Bill Roberts said Roberts Restaurant Group is slowly rolling out the reopening of its five restaurants in the Birmingham/Bloomfield area, including Beverly Hills Grill. His Town Tavern in Royal Oak closed. The Roberts team is finalizing plans based on the required health guidelines.

Buddy’s Pizza in Farmington Hills

(248) 855-4600;

CEO Burton Heiss implemented the dine-in service changes. With dining rooms operating at 50 percent capacity, a text message confirms when a guest’s table becomes available. The hostess stand was relocated outside the main doors to eliminate crowded indoor waiting areas. Surfaces are sanitized every 20 minutes. Customers may accept a single-use paper menu or scan the bar code located on the table tent to access the menu electronically on their phone. Guests may request single-use plastic cutlery. Each location is professionally sanitized several times weekly.

The Fly Trap in Ferndale

(248) 399-5150;

Reopened on June 9, social distancing is practiced between 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

Kruse & Muer on Woodward in Royal Oak.

(248) 965-2101;

“It’s a challenging time, but we’re adapting as needed,” said Steve Nichols, director of K&M Operations. Every other table is available and bar stools are spaced 6 feet apart. Plexiglas shields were installed at hostess stands and carryout counters. 

Nara Hibachi Grille in West Bloomfield
(248) 325-9420;
Prime29 Steakhouse in West Bloomfield

(248) 737-7463;

Stoli Liti is operations manager and a partner at both restaurants on Maple Road. Open since June 9, the team continuously sanitizes surfaces, including menus, to provide a safe environment. Before starting their shift, employees’ temperatures are taken, and they’re asked about their health. If someone had a sore throat or headache the day before, management decides about letting the person work. Patios at both restaurants extend seating capacity.

Pita Café in Oak Park

(248) 968-2225;

Manager Ali Chanine offers only carry-out service. Reopening is stressful, he said, “because of the social distancing required. We don’t know how to wait on people from 6 feet away and wearing masks.”

Siegel’s Deli in Commerce

(248) 926-9555;

Co-owners Edison Vushaj and Elvis Vushaj have returned to operating 8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. The health guidelines are followed to make customers feel safer.

Steven Lelli Inn on the Green in Farmington Hills

(248) 994-1111;

June 8 was opening day for owner Mark Zarkin. The spacious restaurant can “keep people a good distance from each other,” he said. Others sit on the open-air terrace. Kitchen staff change gloves between orders.

Three Cats in Clawson

(248) 900-CATS;

Co-owner Chef Matt Prentice reopened for lunch on June 8. With proper distancing, two dining spaces accommodate 36. Additional seating is on the patio. Customers must wear masks upon entry unless there’s a good reason. Once seated, masks can be removed.

Uptown Grille in Commerce Township

(248) 960-3344;

Without details, reopening day was scheduled for June 8.

Val’s Delicatessen in West Bloomfield

(248) 973-8037;

The deli seats guests at booths and every other table. The health guidelines are followed.