Mary Hensley says part of the reason many customers eat at Tipton’s Cafe on Depot Street is for the time to relax and socialize with friends in the restaurant as they eat.
For now, though, they don’t have that option at Tipton’s or any other restaurant.
Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday requiring restaurants across the state to close their dining rooms in another effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The order, which remains in effect through April 6, limits restaurants to serving food via drive-thru, take-out or delivery.
A lot of restaurants, especially national chains, had already begun taking orders at the drive-thru. However, many locally owned restaurants don’t have drive-thru lanes and typically serve customers in a sit-down atmosphere.
So Hensley, a manager at the popular downtown eatery, was hesitant to close the dining area until it was ordered by the governor.
Hensley recalled recently telling a customer Tipton’s would not close until it was required, “and lo and behold,” she said Monday.
“We’re used to it being full,” Hensley said of the restaurant, which was empty Monday except for employees and customers picking up orders to go.
Tipton’s Cafe, 127 W. Depot St., is offering delivery within city limits in addition to take-out and curbside service.
The phone number for Tipton’s Cafe is 639-4201.
Nova’s Sushi Bar & Grille, 1337 Tusculum Blvd. #20 in the Commons, is also offering delivery on orders totaling $40 or more to locations within a 10 mile radius of the restaurant. Otherwise, Nova’s is to-go and curbside service only.
Owner Nene Thirakul said among the to-go options this week is a large, family meal that feeds five or six people, and over the weekend the restaurant offered free hibachi meals to people in the medical field and first responders.
“People are still coming out and supporting us,” Thirakul said.
To reach Nova’s Sushi Bar & Grille, call 588-5424.
Aunt Bea’s Restaurant, 908 Tusculum Blvd, is now also a take-out and curbside service establishment until further notice.
Customers can call the restaurant to order or order and pay in the foyer, as long as there are no more than 10 people inside the restaurant at all times.
Otherwise, customers can order, pick up and pay from inside the car.
To order from Aunt Bea’s Restaurant over the phone, call 638-1451.
Smokin’ Pig BBQ, 708 E. Church St., is open for to-go orders and curbside service, and owner Jerry Hipps said he is not currently operating his food truck. Customers can call to order or order and pick up inside as long as no more than 10 people are inside.
Hipps said he will decide at the end of the week how he will proceed going forward.
To reach Smokin’ Pig BBQ, call 638-8227.
The hot bar at Peggy Ann Bakery, 934 Snapps Ferry Rd., is now operating on a limited menu for to-go orders only, and the bakery remains on a normal schedule, also for to-go orders.
Owner Stacy Martin said she and her family and staff are “taking it day by day” and they will use social media to communicate any changes.
To call Peggy Ann Bakery’s Greeneville location, call 639-1924.
To find out what other local restaurants are doing in response to Lee’s executive order, call the restaurants individually.