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Restaurants adapt to New Year's celebrations with takeout options

Posted at 8:24 AM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 09:30:21-05

MILWAUKEE — Local restaurants are adapting take-out options for New Year's celebrations as more and more people celebrate from home.

Belli's Bistro and Spirits is a cozy spot in Bay View. It warms up Milwaukee with its soul and southern food—all original recipes from manager Michael Patton's grandmother. Patton and his mother opened the restaurant three years ago.

"It’s been the hardest year, but it’s been the most testing year," Patton said. "So we still standing so I'm just blessed to still be here."

For New Year's Eve and Day, he's not doing anything special—just offering his full menu and regular hours.

"Take out has actually been keeping us open," Patton said. "Yesterday, with the snowstorm going on, if we didn’t have to take out, we would have been in the negatives."

Some restaurants are getting creative this holiday by providing meal or cocktail kits to take home.

The Fire Pit Sports Bar at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino posted on Facebook you can order a four-course surf and turf meal.

Justin Carlisle owns Ardent on the East Side and said his takeout specials sold out. Otherwise, he's offering limited indoor dining.

According to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, overall restaurant sales are down 39 percent on average, and 37 percent report they might now make it six months from now without any big help from the government.

When it comes to take out, restaurant owners say they've lost a lot of revenue from the lack of alcohol sales. They say it helps if you order your beverages from them, too.

"Realistically most of us in the restaurant businesses have now turned to retail," Carlisle said. "So we have retail prices in the things you’re going to find liquor stores and grocery stores. We have those, and we have more distinct selections."

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