Food and drink: Cheesecake Factory, First Watch, Nora Lee’s, The Pines

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Restaurants are continuing to reopen in adapting to the new normal that includes seating at 60 percent of capacity. (That figure is often less, due to social distancing requirements for tables).

One of the larger chain establishments in northern Delaware, The Cheesecake Factory in Christiana Mall, began offering full service beginning last week, according to a social media post. Service had been limited to carryout.

blankAnother restaurant opening the vicinity of the mall on Monday is First Watch, a chain that was part of the invasion of breakfast-brunch spots in the past couple of years. First Watch is across the street from Delaware Tech’s Stanton Campus.

Rival breakfast spot Turning Point located in the Christiana Fashion Center near the mall opened earlier.

Phase 3, which had been expected to go into effect for the July 4th holiday has been at least temporarily delayed while COVID-19 tests take place in Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. Several positive cases have been tied to people who stay in beach houses during senior week while attending the traditional parties.

A number of establishments are limiting service or were closed until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, it appears the push by municipalities and the state Division of Small Business to lessen the usual regulatory barriers as a way to expand outdoor dining seems to be showing signs of success.

Last week, Newark took advantage of the celebration marking the completion of the Main Street project to show off the expanded outdoor dining space.

Nora Lee’s opening patio

Nora Lee’s, the Cajun-Creole restaurant in Old New Castle opened its patio on Friday.

The expansion behind the restaurant went a step beyond the usual outdoor deck-patio and includes covered individual dining tables. Reservations are required and limited to parties of four in the covered areas.

Our apologies for indicating that Nora Lee’s is the only Cajun-Creole spot in the northern part of the state. That left out St. Georges Country Store and Cajun Kates.

St. Georges Country Store does not yet have an opening date. The 60 percent capacity requirement with social distancing does not work for the dining establishment that also features live entertainment.

Virtual dinner show from The Pines raises $19,000 for Beebe Healthcare

Examples of restaurants giving back while dealing with the COVID-19 world in innovative ways are many.

This week we learned that Beebe Medical Foundation received a donation of $19,000 from the Pines Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach from the proceeds of a four-week Saturday night virtual fundraising series at the “Top of the Pines.”

Each Saturday night, a dinner, show, and auction were held featuring different entertainers: Pamala Stanley, Mona Lotts and Michael Solonski.

“We wanted to do something for our local heroes at Beebe Healthcare,” said David Gonce from the Pines. “We reached out to Tom Protack, president of Beebe Medical Foundation, and we began brainstorming together with our Pines team and the Foundation team. It truly was a win-win for everyone during a time of economic duress. We were able to increase our carry-out food, have entertainers share their talent, and make an impact with donations large and small from our followers.”

Each week, a different Beebe Healthcare leader began the evening on stage sharing updates on Beebe Healthcare’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Local businesses and artists donated items to be auctioned during the show and local businesses sponsored the entertainment.

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