Keller restaurant owners weigh dine-in options as COVID-19 restrictions ease

From left: Andrea Alexandrides, the owner of Double Dave's Pizzaworks in Keller, and staff member Katelyn Borman (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
From left: Andrea Alexandrides, the owner of Double Dave's Pizzaworks in Keller, and staff member Katelyn Borman (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

From left: Andrea Alexandrides, the owner of Double Dave's Pizzaworks in Keller, and staff member Katelyn Borman (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

Executive orders issued by Gov. Greg Abbott give Texas restaurants the ability to reopen dining rooms with a 25% capacity cap in place beginning May 1.

According to a survey by the Texas Restaurant Association, 56.61% of restaurants are choosing not to reopen or are unsure if they will do so over the next week despite the option to begin serving dine-in customers.

Somewhat in line with statewide numbers, 42 out of 80 Keller restaurants, or 52.5%, questioned by city officials had no immediate plans to reopen dining rooms.

Concerned for the safety of employees and customers, staff at Niki’s Italian Bistro in Keller had no immediate plans to reopen the dining room, even at 25% capacity. The restaurant will instead rely on to-go and pickup orders, along with 25 years of experience as a family-owned bistro, staff said.

“Customers want food service and to get out of the house, but they have been very nice and understanding about what is going on,” staff said.

It is still too early to open up for dine-in service as a “mostly buffet” restaurant with central air conditioning, said Andrea Alexandrides, franchise owner of Double Daves Pizzaworks in Keller.

In line with a recommendation by Double Daves corporate officials, the restaurant has opted to remain closed to dine-in customers until at least mid-May, Alexandrides said.

Meanwhile, 38 out of 80 Keller restaurants announced plans to restart dine-in services during the week of May 1.

“It was a little slower than we thought it would be for the first day,” said John DeVivo, co-owner of DeVivo Bros. Eatery in Keller.

The popular restaurant is adhering to the 25% occupancy requirement, he said.

Tables are marked with clear signage indicating whether diners can sit, and employees are wearing proper safety equipment, such as masks and gloves, when handling food, including curbside and to-go orders.

“We are being as cautious as we can, and we are abiding by the best sanitation practices we can,” DeVivo said.

The beginning of Gov. Abbott’s plan to reopen the economy is a welcome change for the Defranco family.

Cindy, a first responder, and Kent, an essential worker, were enjoying an afternoon lunch with their daughter on the patio of DeVivo Bros. Eatery on May 1. The rest of the day was likely to include a trip to Southlake Town Center, they said.

“It can’t happen fast enough,” they said.
By Ian Pribanic
Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


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