A hurricane is disruptive whenever it hits, but as the full force of Irene swept the East coast over the weekend—the most lucrative days for restaurants—industry folks had to instantly come up with their own disaster plans. And they had to let their customers know pretty quickly. Alerts sent out through Facebook, Twitter, texts and blogs ranged from the serious to the quirky.
Danny Meyer and the Union Square Hospitality Group took an early and serious route, notifying New York City customers via email and their website with this posting on Friday:
Due to storm conditions, and with the safety and well-being of our team and guests in mind, Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants will be closed Saturday, 8/27 and Sunday, 8/28. We look forward to welcoming you back on Monday with open arms and a fully stocked kitchen and bar!
The USHG Family
That meant a lot of lost business for the normally packed dining destinations of Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Blue Smoke, The Modern and Maialino.
Other restaurants saw Irene as a marketing opportunity, tweeting hurricane promotions, parties and updates over the weekend:
A restaurant posted this sign, as photographed by a tv station in North Carolina. It became one of the tweeted pictures on Twitter. http://bit.ly/oBZWGv
Levittown Wings Hurricane Grill: Stop by Hurricane Grill & Wings in Levittown today and have a Tropical Hurricane Drink for $2.50 before hurricane Irene comes our way.
chefcritchley: urbana is open for sure tomorrow, stay safe where you are, but if you're in the neighborhood - we've got bottomless belini brunch happening
Boqueria: Hurricane provisions (tapas & wine) available this evening at Boqueria. The calm before the storm.
La Palapa's cold menu? Yes! For our East Village friends - come in this afternoon for Guacamole, Ceviche and Frozen Margaritas! We are ready for Irene and will be here waiting with Margarita's in hand. Be safe!
Chef Todd English: irene not stopping us.. Be careful out there and if your [sic] hungry stop by my NYC restaurants.. Olives, The Food Hall and CA VA
ChefToddEnglish: Thanks for your concern about our staff... We are putting them up in the hotels so they are safe
Bao Noodles is open and will make deliveries until 6:00 pm. Plan to open tomorrow at 5:30 pm.
Cask 'N Flagon: The Cask does not close! We are open all weekend long. Hurricane's - screw it, come drink. The grill is hot and the chicken wings are on.
We're riding out the storm today. In honor of Irene Marco will be offering our Restaurant Week four course prix fixe menu, for only $33.11.
PhillyWeekly: If you find yourself in need of shelter, food, power, etc in Old City: Gigi Restaurant plans to stay open till 2 tonight #Hurricane #Irene
EaterNY: The Ultimate Hurricane Irene Dining Guide http://bit.ly/qaY9HM
Getting ready: 10 styles of restaurant window tapings
The National Restaurant Association issued a statement on Monday encouraging the media to report on restaurant re-openings and “return to normal” business when the wrath of Irene subsided: http://bit.ly/r5wjoq