“We are feeling like we have turned a corner and guests are even more understanding of what a long ride we have been on together.”
With Women’s History Month coming to a close, we wanted to mark the occasion by speaking with some of the area’s top female chefs and restaurateurs. We asked for their perspectives on where their industry goes from here as we all move into a new phase of the pandemic, and they shared what they are doing to continue to survive in unprecedented times.
Executive Chef and Owner, Stillwater, Boston
“We are ramping up again as we head into the warmer Spring weather. I see more customers coming in and dining in the restaurant as well as continued solid takeout sales. I think now we are all in a race to hire/rehire staff before patio season is in full swing. That coupled with the fact that a lot of folks have left the industry during COVID is a stress that keeps me up at night.
“However, I think as more folks get vaccinated and continue to feel confident to go out we will have a fantastic spring and summer and I hope that it will continue throughout the year.”
Owner, Double Chin and Bao Bao Bakery, Chinatown
“We haven’t been able to offer dine-in at Double Chin due to staffing issues and safety concerns throughout the pandemic. A core part of our identity is our Insta-worthy (yet tasty) dishes which rely heavily on presentation. This doesn’t translate well in paper boxes, so my creative juices have been pent up for the last year. And we couldn’t be more excited to showcase all of our new creations in the near future and put our tables back to use.
“It’s about to be the Roaring Twenties 2.0—that light at the end of the tunnel has never been brighter.”
Proprietor, Caswell Restaurant Group (Oak + Rowan, BRINE, Ceia), Seaport and Newburyport
“As our staff has begun to get vaccinated, the fear is starting to lessen for the team. We are feeling like we have turned a corner and guests are even more understanding of what a long ride we have been on together—while of course continuing to monitor guest safety and all local requirements.
“It just feels good to be doing what we know and love. To finally care for people in our own dining room is everything. We have changed our menu styling to better suit a more social setting. With more fresh fish prepared to snack and share. Cocktail lists are slightly longer, so guests can have a well-made creative cocktail. We are also being conscious of pricing as we know many have been financially affected by this pandemic.”
Executive Chef and Owner, Pagu, Cambridge
“We look forward to safely welcoming back guests on our patio; we haven’t done in-person dining since early November! We are grateful for our employees who have been so willing to learn all the different things we have offered in the past few months, e.g. butchering and preparing duck for the holidays, suburban pickups, subscriptions, and more.
“We have been busy making vaccine appointments for our employees, calling Boston Medical Center, and staying up until midnight booking on the CVS website. The front-of-house guest experience is something we look forward to because we receive from it as much as we give. Our team has mentioned missing that component of human interaction during the past few months, and so we are increasingly eager to welcome guests back once again.”