The COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic has completely upended dining out and food service as we know it. As a self-proclaimed supporter of local business, I’ve done my best to try to eat local even under quarantine. The ingenuity of our local business owners has impressed me. I have seen roaming beer vans, designated pickup times, and social distancing made easy. Let’s take a look at how brands and businesses have kept/can keep things going during this pandemic.

Bringing the Beer to You

The Cincinnati beer scene is one of the best in the nation. I say that both as a proud native, and someone who will travel for world-renowned beer. With seemingly every one of the 52 neighborhoods having their own brewery, plus those breweries located in the suburbs, there’s so much to choose from. The quality happens to be great too. Due to the quarantine here in Ohio, some of my local favorites got innovative – beer delivery vans. Liken it to an ice cream truck for adults…

One of my favorite parts of social distancing has been watching these beer delivery vans on Instagram. Madtree, Rhinegeist, and Streetside each have been broadcasting general times they will be in certain parts of town. Locals are able to step outside, properly distance from their peers, and purchase some of their favorite brews. The concept is not new, but has been a great way to engage with the community and get some kick-ass beer to people wondering what to do.

MadTree and Rhinegeist are two of the largest breweries in the city with growing distribution. Streetside is walking distance from my house, but actually makes my favorite beers. MadTree has a killer Chocolate Raspberry Stout called Rubus Cacao. A must for any stout lover that doesn’t mind a little fruit too. Rhinegeist has Truth, not my favorite, but something my floral IPA-loving friends can’t get enough of. Streetside has my two favorites, I can’t choose just one – Suh, Brah?, a New England style IPA and Return of the Mac, a coffee blonde ale.

Whenever we’re back to some semblance of normalcy, we’ll all have to raise a glass here at the Western Hemisphere’s largest Oktoberfest – right here in Cincinnati.

Timing It Just Right

Another local business doing their part is Brown Bear Bakery. They have incredible cookies, amazing savory pastries, and, of course, to-die-for cinnamon rolls. In order to keep business coming, what’s ordinarily an inviting place to spend a morning or afternoon has resorted to scheduled pickup times. Each online order is given a designated pickup time at the shop to avoid social interaction, an introvert’s dream. Now every bakery nut in Cincinnati can get their sugar fix safely.

Spacing and Delivery

Photo courtesy of Coffee Emporium

Social distancing has really taken hold – as it should right now. Restaurants and grocery stores are marking off six-foot increments to help keep customers safe. Over the weekend, we decided to get our local coffee fix at the Coffee Emporium. The shop limited entrance to only three customers at a time, each spaced out by six-foot distances. I never thought getting a latte would be so complex, but I was glad they were looking out for my health.

The Coffee Emporium is known locally for its great coffee beans, tasty food, and seasonal specials. I’ve fallen in love with what they call the Nutty Irishman, an Irish Cream latte that’s specific to spring.

Delivery seems to be the most obvious way to observe social distancing. I grew up ordering pizza for delivery all the time. The food delivery industry has been booming in the past few years. Quarantine seems to have pushed it over the top. The science behind making food taste great after it’s been delivered is fascinating and is sure to continue to grow.

My advice in these uneasy times is to find your favorite restaurant, order delivery, and enjoy. You can thank me for your mental health later.

Thank You – Stay Safe

I’m excited to see companies come up with innovative solutions to serve their customers in spite of COVID-19. Some of these solutions may just become new norms: think about all we just talked about above, working from home for many, and maybe even the revival of our state, local, and national parks.

Finally – and most importantly – thanks to all of the workers braving these conditions and keeping things safe and clean. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

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