Bistro 501 not re-opening dine-in services yet, despite Governor's green light

"We've chosen to take an extra couple of weeks to make sure we are doing it properly and safely and comfortably for everyone involved," said Mary Buckley, Co-Owner of the restaurant.

Posted: May 11, 2020 7:08 PM
Updated: May 11, 2020 11:40 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - As restaurants across the state allow customers back through their doors, one Lafayette restaurant is choosing to stay closed.

"We've chosen to take an extra couple of weeks to make sure we are doing it properly and safely and comfortably for everyone involved," said Mary Buckley, Co-Owner of Bistro 501. "To start up these businesses again after being closed for two months is not an easy lift."

Much of the dining room is in disarray as they are preparing to have a deep clean and sanitization of the restaurant, happening in the next few weeks. 

"We are very happy for those businesses that feel they can open," she said. "We just hope that everybody, customers and business owners alike, are aware that this is not over."

Buckley said a lot has to go into getting their restaurant ready to open safely.

"Servers wearing masks, back of the house wearing masks," she said. "We won't be filling water glasses there will be individual water bottles on the tables, all these little details. An entrance door and an exit door being separated, we don't have a very large waiting area, people will have to wait in their vehicles for their table to be ready."

They are printing disposable menus and giving each of their servers their stylus pen to use on their touchscreen equipment to keep down the spread of germs. Buckley thought ahead and ordered foot pedals to be installed in the bathrooms that open the stall door, so you don't have to touch the lock.  And with an older customer base, Buckley said making sure every precaution is taken is of the utmost importance.

She also said their supply chain is not as regular as before. For example, they are only getting their produce shipment in once a week compared to every day. Executive Chef Cheyenne Buckley wants to make sure their food continues to be fresh and up to what the community expects from Bistro 501. And a lot of the supplies they need to ensure the safety details above isn't going to ship for a few weeks.

However, this isn't the first big obstacle Bistro 501 has had to work around. On May 26th of last year, the Bistro 501 building suffered serious storm water damage from the floors above it and had to close down for several weeks.

"Having the flood last year, about this time and being closed for six weeks actually gave us a bit of an advantage," she said. "To be able to readjust and know what we needed to do be able to re-open and to do so properly."

One unique adaptation they brought off the back burner is the Bistro Market, an idea Buckley said they have had in the works for about a year now. Since so many apartment complexes started opening in the downtown area with no grocery store nearby, the owners of Bistro 501 wanted to provide an option. The coronavirus restrictions just sped the process for them.

"We flipped the switch on the Bistro Market and it has kept our lights on," she said.

You can call ahead and Buckley and her team will try their best to get you the necessities you can't find at the store.

"Maybe you could go into the supermarket and find the eggs but no bacon, and the other supermarket and find potatoes but no corn," she said.

It's been so successful, they are working towards opening a storefront for the market hopefully by this time next year. They say that now is the time to turn that back burner idea into its full blown reality.

"We will get through this and we thank you Lafayette for your support," she said.

The Bistro Market is open Thursday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. You must call ahead with your order at 765-423-4501. They hope to be ready to partially re-open their dining room by the first week of June. In the meantime, Bistro 501 is still offering curbside pick-up Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at that same number. 

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