McKinney restaurants respond to May 1 Texas reopening

Blue Olive Grill in McKinney will continue to offer takeout options but will not reopen May 1. (Community Impact staff)
Blue Olive Grill in McKinney will continue to offer takeout options but will not reopen May 1. (Community Impact staff)

Blue Olive Grill in McKinney will continue to offer takeout options but will not reopen May 1. (Community Impact staff)

Many McKinney restaurants are readying for what could be a busy day with dine-in service able to resume at 25% occupancy starting May 1, according to eased restrictions approved by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Bill Smith’s Cafe in McKinney is one restaurant taking advantage of this allowance, with its doors set to open at 5:30 a.m.

The restaurant spent April 30 readying the waitstaff and the dining area for customers’ returns, said April Loken, a Bill Smith’s employee. This included sanitizing tables and spacing them out to help maintain social distancing as well as making hand sanitizer more widely available in the cafe, she said.

Per state regulations, all tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and can include no more than six people at a time.

Accepting credit card payments to prevent extra handling of cash is another change that customers will see at the restaurant, Loken said.


If the restaurant reaches capacity, a hostess will be outside taking names and encouraging people to wait in their vehicles until their tables are available.

“Everything is ready to go. We're just waiting for the morning,” she said. “We’re excited to get going.”

The 25% occupancy rule is helpful for Bill Smith’s since it has such a large seating area, Loken said.

“We can still do 25% and have a good amount of people in here,” she said. “I know most restaurants can only seat, say, 50-100 people. We seat right around between 250-300.”

Not having enough seats is one reason keeping other restaurants, such as Blue Olive Grill in McKinney, from reopening.

The restaurant gets a good number of diners that come through on the weekend, owner Waleed Farah said. Only seating a fraction of them would be a “disservice,” he said.

“We only have seven tables altogether, so 25% of that is only two tables,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to open.”

Blue Olive Grill has a smaller dining room, so spacing tables out to accommodate social distancing would also be a difficulty for the restaurant, Farah said. Responses to curbside pickup and to-go orders have been good, he said, so the restaurant will continue to offer those options.

“We’re going to wait for now and see what happens,” Farah said.
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the McKinney edition.


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