Local restaurants change strategies during pandemic


Aqua Tea, 33 W. High St., is empty after cancelling dine-in service. Photo by Wenyan Dai

By Wenyan Dai and Paige Scott

As business in Oxford declines due to the coronavirus and students leaving the area, some restaurants have decided to completely shut their doors for the time being, while other local restaurants are still open for delivery and takeout only.

Patterson’s Cafe, 103 W. Spring St., has temporarily closed its doors. Despite having tried to stay open for carryout orders, the cafe recently closed until further notice.

Mac & Joe’s, 21 E. High St., another popular spot in Oxford, also decided to temporarily close its doors. “First off, we want to thank the community for their outreach and inquiries about the possibility of us continuing service through takeout only,” said a statement on its website. “Due to the surge in foot traffic we received when the university switched to remote learning, we find it pertinent that we close and take this time to clean and sanitize our facilities before continuing service.” The restaurant will be evaluating the prospect of a limited menu, with limited hours, takeout only, and will update the public soon.

Other restaurants such as Bodega, 11 W. High St., are still open for business. Bodega remains open with its normal hours which are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., for delivery or takeout only.

Fiesta Charra, 25 W. High St., a popular Mexican restaurant in the heart of uptown Oxford, has delivery between the hours of noon and 2 p.m., or 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to its website.

Paesano’s, 308 S. Campus Ave., a local dine-in Italian restaurant has completely shut its doors due to the coronavirus. “We’re not doing takeout, we’re just trying to ride this out and wait for things to come back to normal hopefully,”  said owner Pat Lanni.

Aqua Tea, 33 W. High St.,  is a beverage shop that serves bubble milk tea and fruit smoothies in Oxford. It usually has a lot of walk-in traffic, but now that the dine-in has been canceled, the shop is empty.

Kalar Huang, a cashier at Aqua Tea, said the restaurant now only accepts deliveries and has takeout orders. She said she spends most of the day cleaning the restaurant.

“Our takeout volume has increased, but the negative impact of restricting dine-in has been extremely large,” Huang said. “Some part-time employees have stopped working due to coronavirus.”

The same happened in another popular restaurant, Dim Sum, 313 S. College Ave.

According to the manager, Weide Dai, Dim Sum was hiring part-time for nearly a month to handle the volume of takeout and delivery. Their delivery volume is about the same as usual, but due to the cancellation of dine-in services, business is down.

In addition, Dim Sum attaches great importance to protective gear against the virus. Masks have become a must-have for every employee, Dai said.

Carryout orders remain steady, but business is down overall at Dim Sum, 313 S. College Ave.  Photo by Wenyan Dai

“Because of the impact of coronavirus, we will worry about pick-up customers going in and out,” said Dai. “In order to protect the health of employees, we all wear gloves and masks. Although some customers do not wear masks, we have a glass plate between the counter and the guests to reduce the possibility of virus transmission.”