BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Normally, the booze would be flowing and the sound of the mariachi band would fill the air in Mexican restaurants across the country for Cinco de Mayo.
Stay-at-home orders have largely limited how Americans celebrate the Mexican holiday, however, for one group of work friends, a little coronavirus could not stop them from celebrating.
"Normally, we would be somewhere on a patio right now drinking margaritas,” said Amy Cable.
Instead of spending the day at home, Cable, Amanda Brady, and Amber Blair decided they would rather eat their favorite Mexican food together in the comfort of their own cars parked next to each other in the parking lot of Tio Javi’s Mexican Grill.
They call it “Cinco de Cardo.”
“It’s definitely a nice break in the monotony of being at home and working from home,” Cable said.
It’s innovation like this in the face of a sweeping pandemic that’s helping keeping people sane and allowing restaurants to scrape by.
Carlos Betancourt is the owner of Tio Javi’s. His restaurant is solely reliant on takeout orders now, which has put a huge damper on the money-making holiday.
“It’s our biggest day of the year, so probably a quarter to a third of what we normally expect to get today,” Betancourt said. “It’s just, I just think it’s harder to do that much volume takeout.”
While customers have had to adapt, so have restaurants.
Tio Javi’s has switched to a system where people drive up, park in the parking lot, and then a server comes out to their car, takes the order, then delivers the food.
“We split up the parking lot into sections and try to run it as close to normal as we can,” Betancourt said.
Other restaurants have had to rely on a simplified, spiced up menu to keep food flowing out the door.
Restaurants with patios can still have customers eat on those patios, as long as they practice social distancing, but even then it’s not the same. So until life goes back to normal, customers and restaurants are going to have to continue to get creative.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Brady said.
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