Soon after, cases were confirmed in Texas, then Collin County and then McKinney, at which point government officials had put in place measures to reduce the chances of the virus spreading. These measures limit the number of gatherings to less than 10 people and order bars and restaurants to close dine-in services.
Rye, which has become a staple in downtown McKinney, is a seasonal, American small plates restaurant and craft cocktail bar.
Agar said Rye began offering no-touch takeout and delivery options right away, as many other local restaurants have, but he said they decided to take it one step further.
“Once the orders came down that restaurants were going to be limited, that’s when our team went into the all-out sprint to save ourselves,” Agar said. “Our main motivation here is, 'How do we get to keep our employees and save their jobs?'”
So in addition to menu items, Rye started selling do-it-yourself meal and cocktail kits as well as some of Rye's pantry items.
The meal kit menus change weekly to keep the options fresh, Agar said. This week’s meals include curried gulf shrimp and cauliflower and braised lamb steamed buns as well as salads, steaks and more.
“These have been performing really well, as people don’t want to go out [and] shop but also want to eat something more than just rice and beans,” Agar said.
But the cocktail kits, Agar said, are where Rye can really shine and offer something different.
“The idea behind the cocktail kits started when the governor made it legal for restaurants to sell alcohol [to go], so we wanted to take advantage of that, and obviously, Rye—having won several awards for our cocktails, that is something where we have an opportunity to keep people in their jobs producing cocktails,” he said. “We are just going to sell them in a little bit different way than we are used to.”
The kits include mojitos, bloody marys and Rye’s version of an Old Fashioned, among at least a dozen other drinks.
“People really enjoy it,” Agar said. “We have tried to make it as easy as we can and provide the tools and directions you need.”
Depending on the size of the glasses used, the kits can make eight to 10 servings. Customers can find all of the tools needed to make the cocktails, individually or as a bundle, on Rye’s website.
Also on the site, Rye is offering locally sourced bottles of wine, craft beer and some of its pantry and bar items, such as sweet horseradish pickles and brandied cherries, as well as Rye’s house bitters and vermouth.
The restaurant has also partnered with Profound Farms, a local farm based in Lucas, to offer fresh romaine lettuce.
With the closure of restaurants, the farm’s primary customer base disappeared, Agar said, so Rye is helping Profound find a market for their lettuces.
Rye’s partners, which include local farms, breweries and boutique wineries, are important to support during these times because without them, Rye does not exist, Agar said.
When customers orders items, one of Rye’s 15 team members will provide curbside pickup or deliver orders to customers.
So far, there has been a great response from customers expressing their enjoyment of the kits and food, Agar said.
“It is all about the community,” he said. “The motivation to keep our people working and the response and support that we have seen from our guest base is really what is motivating us to keep working at this and figure out how to keep going.”
Agar said that when Rye is able to open its doors again, he expects it to be better than ever.
For more information, visit Rye's website.