Kentucky-based restaurateur weighs in on the future of post-pandemic dining out

At the start of the pandemic, restaurants had to pivot and rely on innovations in takeout, carry-out cocktails, expanded outdoor dining, and contactless technology. Some of the trends weren’t supposed to happen for years, but in many places, they happened at an accelerated rate.

Not all restaurants were able to adapt and, according to restauranteurs around the country, recovery will take time. Edward Lee, who owns Louisville restaurants 610 Magnolia, Milkwood, and Whiskey Dry, plus the recently opened Khora in Cincinnati, worries that many local places won’t have the money to support other small, independent businesses (like farms) or be able to continue with unique touches.

“There’s a romance to restaurants, and I am fighting so hard not to lose that,” Lee says.

Elaine Townsend, co-owner of Mochiko, the new Asian-inspired pastry and ramen shop in Hyde Park, says they lucked out when they found a location with a takeout window, which will be useful post-pandemic, as takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery increased 30% over the past year, which experts say won’t change anytime soon.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.