By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Bistro LeRoux reopened on Mother’s Day, after a coronavirus hiatus, and sold out of 280 dinners, distributed curbside.
“We could have sold 400,” says chef Jacob Guay, who operates the 10-year-old restaurant with his wife Tiffany.
“We just couldn’t handle it in the kitchen. We turned away 150.”
“We’ll be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 8 p.m.,” now, he says.
“It’s all zero contact. Call ahead to order and pay with credit card, curbside pickup. We use face masks and fresh gloves for each delivery.”
Mr. Guay says LeRoux will add outdoor seating once dining-in is allowed again. He anticipates that social distancing restrictions will limit indoor capacity.
“We’re renovating the garden, adding decks outside the building, fixing up the flower beds and adding Christmas lights.
“We will have 9 picnic tables with coolers set in them for growlers and wine bottles, etc. So we can do some take-out/outdoor seating. We’ll have live music, we think. It’ll be nice.”
Mr. Guay said he doesn’t expect the state’s reopening phases to allow dining-in service here until July, “even mid-July.”
“We are very fortunate that this is our 10th year open,” he says. “If we were in our second year, we’d be in trouble…
“This is an unprecedented situation. I’m a little worried. What happens in November, December, during flu season. What if people aren’t wanting to eat out at all?”
He said Bistro LeRoux received Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding through the Small Business Administration.
As for the Mother’ Day reopening, Mr. Guay says, “It was time. It was a moral dilemma for me, with the pandemic. The most important thing is to keep our staff safe. But staff members are also hurting, and ready to get back to work.”
He said, “I’m a little different. I have had long, deep conversations with my employees. I know it’s scary. I want them to feel fully comfortable coming back to work.
“We have just three people on the line (in the kitchen),” he said. “One person at each station, six feet apart, no one working side by side.” They take temperatures daily.
“Before, we were all warriors. You’d come in no matter how sick. But this is not the time for that.”
Front of house workers, hosts and servers are still not back. Most are collecting unemployment, Mr. Guay said. “I know, I’m confident they will all come back when the restaurant needs.”
“I’ve been missing it,” Mr. Guay says of getting back to work. “The smell of scallops, Sinatra in the kitchen, the staff all in black with polished shoes….”
Saturday, looking over the “reservation” sheet for Mother’s Day, he said, “I knew 75 percent of the people on it. I got choked up on the phone, talking with people who are so excited to come back.”
“We’ll make it through this summer and the fall. Next year, when Saratoga opens, I’ll be going to SPAC and to the races and Great Escape.”
Bistro LeRoux is at the corner of Bay Road and Route 149 in Lake George.
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