Join us today at 11 AM to chat with Washingtonian food critic Ann Limpert. She’s here to answer any questions you may have about this unsettling time—whether about ways to help the restaurants you love and miss, cooking projects, delivery options, or anything else. Leave a question now, and Ann will get to as many as she can.
Ann: Good morning—the world as I type this morning feels very different than the world we all woke up to last Friday. I hope you are hanging in there as best you can.
The restaurant community has mobilized amazingly quickly during the bleakest of circumstances. Many places—cocktail rooms, luxe tasting menu spots, mom and pop joints—were able to quickly pivot to delivery and takeout. Emilie’s on the Hill is now functioning as a Vietnamese carryout. Coconut Club is selling groceries, while Jack Rose is selling off its collection of rare whiskeys. Service Bar is delivering 32 ounce burnt-orange sours and spicy palomas. You can now swing by Komi for a $13 gyro. As inspiring as that creativity, quick-thinking, and resilience is, these are still very dark times for the restaurant community. A few ways you can help:
*Hook Hall Helps, run out of the Park View bar, is a relief fund that will provide meals, emergency supply kits, and other essentials to out-of-work restaurant staffers. Everyday from 5 to 8 PM, chef Ed Lee hands out to-go meals, canned goods, and other supplies to laid-off restaurant folks out of his Penn Quarter restaurant Succotash. And anyone in need can get a low-cost (or, if needed, free) meal at one of Jose Andres’s community kitchens, which he’s running out of his shuttered restaurants. You can donate to any of these causes.
*Virtual tip jar: Exactly what it sounds like. Venmo a tip to one of your favorite restaurant workers or bartenders. Here’s a spreadsheet with all the info.
*Gift cards: This puts cash in restaurant’s pockets now, and you can use the card when the place gets up and running again. Some restaurants have InKind accounts, which you can put money into and which act as a house account. There’s a comprehensive list of restaurants offering gift cards here.
*Direct ordering: Many delivery apps take chunks of a restaurant’s profit (some, like DoorDash and UberEats are deferring or waiving any commissions for the next month); if a place offers direct ordering over the phone or through their site, that might put more money in their pocket.
And lastly, it’s been a really tough week for all small businesses, our Washingtonian family included. If you like what we do, there really wouldn’t be a better time to subscribe.
Onto your questions! Ask them in the form below; the chat transcript shows up underneath.