What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Kō•än pivots to grocery service amid coronavirus closures

Posted March 24, 2020 9:00 a.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2020 9:09 a.m. EDT

ko-an (Photo by Stacey Sprenz)

— Five months after opening its doors, Kō•än closed them again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Cary restaurant is closed to dine-in customers as per Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order, the business has found a way to pivot - instead offering customers a way to get fresh produce and items normally only available to restaurants.

"When the governor said that we had to close our dining room, that pretty much shut down the business," executive chef Drew Smith said. "We don't do a ton of takeout or anything like that."

Smith said, as the restaurant started developing the takeout and delivery options, he noticed an opportunity.

"There's national and local purveyors that have an abundance of food, just tons and tons of food that's going to go bad," Smith said, noting that many grocery stores have empty shelves right now.

Smith made the connection to connect the purveyors with the customers via what they are dubbing "k mart."

"(This) supports our local purveyors, like our produce companies and our fish companies and our beef companies and farmers," he said.

In addition to Kō•än's dinner takeout items, fresh fish, produce and even some grocery items (eggs and milk) can be ordered for curbside pickup or delivery within an 8-mile radius of the restaurant. Orders can be placed online.

Kō•än, like many other restaurants in the area, has laid off most of its staff amid the pandemic. Smith hopes that this new service, however, will become profitable enough to be able to rehire some of those workers as delivery drivers.

Hear more from chef Drew Smith on Tuesday's WRAL Out and About podcast.

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