Bloggers team up with Hill Country winery to create restaurant fundraiser wine – Food and Dining – Austin 360

Torri Donley

The Austinites who run a blog and popular Instagram account have teamed up with a Fredericksburg winery to raise money to help restaurants that have struggled to stay open during the coronavirus.

The Slate Mill Wine Collective and Karen Reinsberg and Gavin Booth, the bloggers behind Couple in the Kitchen (, have released Couple in the Kitchen Charity Wines, whose proceeds go to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which provides zero-interest loans for restaurants owners in need.

Slate Mill Wine Collective is a winery and also a custom crush facility, which allows other wine producers the ability to craft their own wines using their facility.

Winemaker Josh Fritsche teamed up with Booth and Reinsberg to pick wines they liked to create these fundraiser bottles. The initial release includes two wines, a

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Restaurant workers fear safety as indoor dining reopens

Torri Donley

Photo of Madeline Wells

A waiter serves lunch to customers indoors at Junior's Restaurant, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in New York.

A waiter serves lunch to customers indoors at Junior’s Restaurant, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in New York.

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

A few weeks ago, San Francisco reopened indoor dining at 25% capacity, following several other Bay Area counties as COVID-19 restrictions eased. However, some restaurant workers don’t feel safe with this shift.

Maria Moreno, a community organizer at the Bay Area Restaurant Opportunity Center, told KTVU that more than half of the workers she has spoken with said they feel unsafe at work during the pandemic. A restaurant manager in Contra Costa County also told KTVU that he did not feel comfortable with the safety of serving diners indoors, and that indoor dining shouldn’t reopen until rapid testing or a vaccine is available.

“We’re exposing ourselves every day,” said the manager, who did not wish to be identified because he was

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In a year of canceled events, what’s a catering company to do? Pivot, with tacos – Food and Dining – Austin 360

Torri Donley

In March, a local catering company called La Pera had 137 employees, some contract or part time, to help them serve food at the kind of parties and events that are a cornerstone of Austin’s social scene. Weddings and anniversaries, product launches, tasting events, conferences, corporate parties.

Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, they have seven.

“There were days when we needed 75 people on staff, and now maybe we need four,” says co-owner Bethany DiBaggio.

Although she and her partner Rafael Rodriguez hope to eventually hire some of those employees back when Austin’s large-scale events return, a marker of normalcy that could be more than a year away, they aren’t going to sit around and hope the phone rings.

DiBaggio and Rodriguez opened La Pera in 2017 after meeting a few years earlier through the food scene. Rodriguez, a McAllen native whose family is from Guadalajara, had left the

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Coronavirus Crisis: Pleasanton restaurant owners frustrated after Alameda County delays indoor dining

Torri Donley

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) — With their counterparts in neighboring Contra Costa County now allowed to offer limited inside dining, restaurant owners in Pleasanton are not too happy that Alameda County health officials won’t grant them the same privilege, despite meeting the state’s coronavirus threshold.

“Ten miles away, you can drive down the road and have a meal,” said Mike Connors, owner of Hap’s Original Steaks and Seafood. “I think we’ve gotten drug into what’s happening in Oakland, where their numbers are quite high for the coronavirus.”

RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: CA reports more than 3,800 new cases, 7-day positivity rate is at 2.5%

In deciding to delay inside dining for four to six weeks, even at 25% capacity, Alameda County health officials said, “Having different households together while they eat and drink for extended periods of time in an enclosed space eliminates the protections social distancing and wearing a

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You gotta try this: More than 50 of Austin’s top drinks, food products – Food and Dining – Austin 360

Torri Donley

Trying new products is one of my favorite parts about being a food writer. For the past five years, I’ve hosted weekly taste test videos for, where I try new (and new-to-me) products, mostly from Austin-based food and drink companies.

I’ve always been a grocery store fanatic, stopping by bodegas, farmers markets, corner stores and supermarkets any chance I get, especially while traveling, and these weekly videos have encouraged me to think about my own city as a culinary amusement park. Whole Foods, Central Market and the farmers markets used to be the prime places to find new and trendy products, but now you’re just as likely to find those at H-E-B, Fresh Plus, Wheatsville, Natural Grocers, Sprouts and all those well-curated neighborhood convenience stores, including Thom’s, Royal Blue, Mosaic and the Bee Grocery.

The local consumer package good, or CPG, industry continues to grow, even amid the coronavirus

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Richmond Restaurant Week will go on in October – but it will be different this year | Dining

Torri Donley

But restaurants need patrons now more than ever, and a lot of hungry people rely on Feed More’s help, she said.

“We wanted to keep the momentum going and keep celebrating Richmond’s food scene while supporting Feed More,” she said, noting that for restaurants, “it’s a great opportunity [and] everything is taken care of for them.”

This year, because restaurants are already struggling, there are no special menus for Restaurant Week. Patrons who dine at the participating restaurants can make a $5 donation and that money goes directly to Feed More.

“There’s little to no effort on their part,” Reitzer said about participating restaurants. “They’re able to give back to Feed More by doing what they do each day.”

In the past 18 years, Restaurant Week has raised nearly $950,000 for Feed More. A $5 donation can help provide for 20 meals.

In a written statement, Feed More President and

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SIA scraps ‘flight to nowhere’ plan, launches limited plane dining service, tours and home food delivery

Torri Donley

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) has scrapped its plan for a”flight to nowhere” following a review of factors including environmental implications and financial viability.

Instead, for a limited time, SIA will offer a dining experience on board an A380, conduct tours of its training facilities and provide a home delivery service featuring its first class and business class meals. 

The announcement, made by the airline in a press release on Tuesday (Sep 29), comes amid unprecedented challenges for Singapore’s national carrier after COVID-19 crippled travel demand worldwide.

READ: The Big Read – Floored by COVID-19, can SIA soar again? Fate of Singapore’s aviation hub rests on it

SIA Group reported the first annual net loss in its 48-year history in May and has said it will cut about 4,300 positions, affecting around 2,400 staff. Industry watchers expect more job losses to come.

On Tuesday, the airline said the three

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NYC Restaurant Industry Reacts to Indoor Dining Return at 25 Percent

Torri Donley

Just over six months after its dining rooms closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, New York City will reopen for indoor dining. In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the city’s restaurants will be able to reopen their indoor dining rooms at 25 percent capacity starting on September 30. If positive rates for COVID-19 do not significantly increase, indoor dining capacity will increase to 50 percent, as is the case elsewhere in New York state, by November 1.

The announcement follows weeks of back-and-forth between restaurant owners and elected officials, the former of which have called for a comprehensive indoor dining plan ahead of the end of the city’s outdoor dining program on October 31. Roughly half a year after the COVID-19 shutdown devastated the city’s hospitality industry, more than 1,000 bars and restaurants have permanently closed their doors, with countless others on the way.

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Why Indoor Dining in NYC Terrifies Some Restaurant Workers

Torri Donley

What will happen when customers head back inside?
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

There are no signs that America’s COVID-19 pandemic will end, or even slow, anytime soon, yet in less than three weeks, restaurants in New York City — the country’s most densely populated metropolitan area — will reopen for indoor dining. For many of the city’s owners, this is very welcome news: the takeout and delivery model has proven to be an unsustainable plan for survival, and upcoming colder weather threatens the fragile success of outdoor dining. Yet rent and other fixed costs still must be paid. For independent operators there is simply no other option: Open for indoor dining or go out of business. Unfortunately, in making that happen, the needs and fears of the “essential” workers who will execute those plans are being more or less ignored.

On top of existing uncertainties and unease with outdoor dining

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Brevard restaurant owners to continue limiting indoor dining capacity as Phase 3 begins

Torri Donley

Restaurant owners expressed mixed thoughts Friday after Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement Friday that COVID-19 restrictions across the state will be lifting as Florida enters Phase 3 of reopening.

a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant: Lello De Francesco said his customers aren't ready for him to reopen dining at Lello's Ristorante Pizzeria in Rockledge at full capacity. He'll keep indoor seating at 50% for now.

© Suzy Fleming Leonard/FLORIDA TODAY
Lello De Francesco said his customers aren’t ready for him to reopen dining at Lello’s Ristorante Pizzeria in Rockledge at full capacity. He’ll keep indoor seating at 50% for now.

According to the governor’s Guidelines for Opening Up Florida, “Restaurants and food service establishments may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols.” The same goes for bars, pubs and night clubs.

“We truly appreciate the governor’s support and his initiatives regarding supporting local businesses,” said Don DiFrisco, who owns Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Co. in downtown Melbourne. “But at this point, Hell ‘n Blazes has no intention of going beyond 50 percent to maintain the appropriate physical distancing to ensure the safety of our customers.”

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