Whether during half capacity, quarter capacity, or during the complete indoor dining ban, restaurants across the city have based their survival on one thing: takeout and delivery. This critical pivot has offered a lifeline to beloved establishments.
Earlier this year, one group of local engaged citizens began a new initiative called TakeOutTuesday Dupont to ensure that these restaurants stay supported for the near- and long-term.
TakeOutTuesday Dupont was launched “to save our spaces and our gathering spots,” says co-organizer Mike Silverstein, who also acts a Dupont Circle ANC Commissioner.
The initiative is “so those not ready or able to use the Streateries or dine indoors can patronize our gathering spots and help our local businesses survive,” he says.
Running through April, TakeOutTuesday Dupont features two restaurants each week to patronize. During its inaugural weeks, it has already spotlighted businesses close to the LGBTQ community: MIKKO and Pizzeria Paradiso (both gay-owned), and Floriana and Ris, both of which have close ties to the community.
Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont, owned by bastion of the community Ruth Gresser and founded more than three decades ago, has been tossing in free biscotti with any TakeOutTuesday order.
Chef Mikko Kosonen, the former executive chef of the Finnish Embassy, opened Mikko Nordic Fine Foods on R Street in 2018. Chef Mikko crafted a special menu for TakeOutTuesday: roasted duck with corn and apples over potato pancakes; as well as crab cakes over yellow beet potato hash. The aquavit, though not on special, is a unique drink that pairs well with both dishes.
Chef Ris Lacoste, owner of the restaurant of the same name, is tying in Taco Tuesday to TakeOutTuesday. She’s featuring blackened mahi mahi tacos with chipotle crema, avocado, pickled red cabbage, cilantro and lime. The meal comes with a tamarind margarita and cinnamon churros given a coating of chocolate sauce.
Floriana, Silverstein reports, takeout orders nearly tripled from a typical Tuesday after it was featured.
Each week, the group promotes all neighborhood restaurants, with a special focus on two per week. The spotlight is available for all neighborhood establishments, and “we look forward to listing weekly any and all special offerings or promotions,” says Silverstein.
Restaurants “have been through so much the past year, and we need to help them survive and thrive once again” he says.