40 Triangle restaurant owners ask Cooper to only open eateries at full capacity


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A group of Triangle restaurant and bar owners sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper and other leaders asking that their businesses only be allowed to reopen at full seating capacity.

“The viability of restaurants is in grave peril, and we’re counting on you to help save us,” the letter begins.

The owners say that opening at limited seating will make it impossible to generate enough money to stay open. The drop in demand for curb-side and delivery orders will not be made up for by limited seating options.

The letter was sent to Cooper and other leaders on Thursday.

On March 17, Cooper signed an executive order that closed all restaurants and bars except for those offering curb-side and delivery options. North Carolina had 65 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 17 and no deaths associated with it.

On Thursday, North Carolina reported 10,509 confirmed cases and 378 deaths.

“The average independently-owned mid-level restaurant or bar depends on volume to generate sufficient revenue to stay open. These restaurants, which form the bulk of the Triangle’s
acclaimed food scene and employ thousands of residents, will not survive with a reduction in
seats,” the letter reads.

The owners say they support the CDC’s guidelines to reopening the economy but opening with fewer seats would “cause more harm than maintaining the status quo.”

The letter points to an op-ed by Joe Biden and comments from California Gov. Gavin Newsom about restautants and schools changing layouts to keep social distancing a possibility.

“These suggestions could mean the death of independently owned full-service restaurants,” the letter says.

The owners call on the “leadership and wisdom” of the leaders in this crucial time.

“Rather than reopen under conditions that would almost certainly ensure failure, we ask
that you help us maintain the status quo of curbside takeout and delivery service until we
can operate safely at full capacity,” the letter says.

The letter is signed by:

  • Shawn Stokes, Owner of Luna Rotisserie in Durham
  • Elizabeth Turnbull, Co-Owner of COPA in Durham
  • Roberto Copa Matos, Co-Owner and Chef of COPA in Durham
  • Alex Franson, Chef and Owner of The Durham Filling Station
  • Sarah D Bonner, Owner of West 94th St Pub
  • Olivia Gray, General Manager of West End Wine Bar and West End Billiards
  • Kelli Cotter, Owner and Manager, Toast
  • Becky and Mike Hacker, Owners of Pie Pushers
  • Malchy Noone, Owner of Bull McCabe’s
  • Frederick Hancock III, Co-Owner and Manager of Hutchins Garage
  • William Harvey Gray, Co-Owner of Hutchins Garage
  • Gray Brooks, co-owner and executive chef of Pizzeria Toro; Littler; and Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter
  • Andrea Reusing, chef/owner Lantern & chef of The Durham
  • Alison Rudel, Owner of East Durham Bake Shop in Durham
  • Sean Lilly Wilson, CEO/owner of Fullsteam Brewery, Durham
  • Katie and Justin Meddis, Owners of Rose’s Noodles, Dumplings and Sweets in Durham
  • Jeffrey seizer co owner and chef , royale and apero
  • Anthony Kofler, Co-owner Luna Rotisserie in Carrboro
  • Cheetie Kumar, chef/ owner, Garland, Raleigh, NC
  • Brendan Cox, Chef/Owner, Oakleaf, Carrboro, NC
  • Bruce Moffett owner Moffett Restaurant Group
  • Barrington’s, Good Food on Montford, Stagioni, NC Red, Charlotte NC
  • Nick Johnson, Partner, The Cast Iron Group (Dashi, Ponysaurus Brewing Co, The Cookery, The Rickhouse, Soomsoom Pita Pockets)
  • Rochelle Johnson, Partner, The Cast Iron Group (Dashi, Ponysaurus Brewing Co, The Cookery,
  • The Rickhouse, Soomsoom Pita Pockets)
  • Gabe Barker, Chef/Owner, Pizzeria Mercato, Carrboro, NC
  • Matthew Kelly, Chef/Owner, Lucky’s, Mothers & Sons, Vin Rouge, Saint James, Mateo Tapas
  • Joe & Katy Kindred, Owner, Kindred & Hello, Sailor
  • Paul Verica, Owner The Stanley & Orto, Charlotte, NC
  • Doris & Gus Gusler, Owners, The Players Retreat, Raleigh, NC
  • Angelina Koulizakis and John Battiste, Angelina’s Kitchen, Pittsboro, NC
  • Greg Lewis & Maria Parker-Lewis, Owners, Pittsboro Roadhouse, Pittsboro, NC
  • Scott Crawford, Chef/Owner, Crawford & Son, Jolie, Raleigh, NC

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