How to open a first-rate restaurant in a pandemic? Rethink everything

Illinois has experienced nearly a week with more than 1,200 new coronavirus cases a day, and case numbers are increasing in most of the United States. Hours after Mr. Muser’s speech, Governor Gavin Newsom closed dining rooms and bars across California. New York City had already postponed its return to indoor restaurants, and last week Mayor Lightfoot announced that Chicago bars that do not serve food could not sell alcohol indoors.

“I don’t read the news anymore,” Duffy said. “I removed it from my phone.”

Mr. Muser cannot understand the possibility of a future closure of the restaurants inside. “It just takes all the joy out of my profession,” he said. “There’s nothing like three Michelin stars to go.”

Check the virus numbers every morning, then keep going, because there can be no question when you’re on the final stretch of opening a restaurant. Most of Ever’s stocks through the end of September have been sold.

Last Tuesday, the kitchen served the menu to him and sommeliers Jessica Dennis and Ryan Rickelman so that they could decide which wines to accompany, say, caviar and king crab embedded in a cucumber gel in which the Ever logo has been embedded with roasted coconut. pudding.

Late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Selk and Chris Sullivan, a line cook, hung dehydrated food, including slices of dragon fruit, a maitake mushroom, an Fresno pepper, and herbs on rice paper, in the corner of the hallway as the team prepared for the first of three nights with friends and family.

Mr. Muser was putting the finishing touches on his elegant solution to the PPE question. He had hired the same craftsman who designed the walls to create a sculpture-like table that would sit inside the entrance to hold masks and hand sanitizer.

“He’s a $ 6,000 problem solver,” said Muser with a sad smile. He called it “the Covid table”.

The automatic disinfectant dispenser threw so much grease into the hands of the first guests that it dripped onto the floor. Mr. Muser made a note. One more problem to solve.