As the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon continues to impact the local restaurant market, stories are popping up across the city, from food cart owners giving away free meals to chefs starting Instagram cooking classes. In this new version of AM Intel, we dive into different ways the state’s food service industry has been responding to the global pandemic. For more COVID-19 stories, check out our larger story stream.
Bye Bye, Brewers Fest
This summer’s Oregon Brewers Festival has been canceled, for the first time in 33 years. Originally scheduled for July 22 through July 25, the large-scale beer festival will not return until 2021. “At the onset of the COVID-19 virus, we were hopeful that the situation might resolve itself by late July. But the health and safety of our guests, vendors, staff and volunteers is our top priority, and we have decided the risk of holding the festival is too great,” a statement from founder Art Larrance reads. “The Oregon Brewers Festival is attended by thousands of visitors from all over the world. The last thing we would want to do is hold an event that could contribute to the spread of the virus and potentially introduce a second wave of infections.” The festival is scheduled for July 28 through July 31, 2021.
A winery in the Dalles has turned its parking lot into a drive-in movie theater, according to the Oregonian. Sunshine Mill Winery is now showing movies for $15 per car, with car-side pizza delivery available and take-home wine sales. However, there are some hiccups with this current business model: Customers can’t drink onsite, which means all those wine sales must be for bottles to take home. In addition, there are no public restrooms onsite, so Portlanders may be stuck during the event’s 20-minute intermission. On Saturday at 8 p.m., the drive-in is showing The Goonies.
As more of those potential reopening plans circulate on various sites, Willamette Week spotted another tidbit in a reopening plan draft: a potential earlier end of service, suggesting — or perhaps mandating — bars and restaurants stop serving food and booze at 10 p.m. There are a lot of these drafts going around right now, but let’s be clear: No firm, official guidelines have been announced by the governor when it comes to reopening restaurants in Portland.
Before COVID-19 entered Oregon, recovery organization Alano Club and food service recovery organization Ben’s Friends had begun offering free cooking classes hosted by sober chefs in Portland. However, the current state of affairs has forced the organization to suspend its in-person classes. Now, Plates for the People has posted a virtual cooking classes on its website, with Le Pigeon chef Gabriel Rucker making chicken and broccoli fettuccine alfredo. The organization is also selling t-shirts with a portrait of Rucker’s kid, Freddy, with proceeds going to the James Beard Foundation Emergency Relief Fund and the Alano Club of Portland.
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