Like March Madness and Easter, Mother’s Day 2020 is going to be a very different scenario for restaurants. That Sunday in May is typically one of the busiest and most lucrative days of the year, according to the National Restaurant Association, with 87 million Americans taking mom out to brunch, lunch or dinner in 2018. That same year, only 8% ordered takeout.
Although restaurants are gradually starting to reopen for dining in, takeout and delivery are still the only game in town in most states. To spare the family from having to cook brunch or dinner from scratch this Mother’s Day, restaurants are offering a range of options at a range of price points. Here are some ways to celebrate mom 2020-style with a dining experience at home.
Brunch, wine and music
City Winery has put together a package that is as close as possible to being in the venue. The New York City location is offering brunch or dinner, rose wines and a personalized music video by mom’s favorite artist. The menu includes entrees of French Toast Casserole for brunch ($20 per person) or Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Roasted Parmesan Potatoes for dinner and a Rose of Syrah wine, which purchasers can order by the case to get “a dozen roses” instead of the traditional flowers (12 bottles for the price of 10). The video portion of the gift features a customized video greeting by the chosen artist, plus a set of songs to enjoy.
To celebrate Mother’s Day Italian-style, two chains are offering family-focused dinners to go. Buca di Beppo has two meal packages available. The dinner options are a choice of a hearty pasta (lasagna, baked rigatoni or spicy chicken rigatoni) for $12 per person or a choice of pasta (spaghetti marinara, fettuccine Alfredo, penne alla vodka or baked ziti) plus one entree (chicken parmigiana, chicken limone or eggplant parmigiana) for $14 per person. Each package comes with bread, salad and chocolate chip cannolis, and for mom, a special dessert and a rose.
Maggiano’s Little Italy is offering a Mother’s Day Bundle, packed to generously feed four to six for $95. The Italian feast inside features mini meatballs in marinara sauce, Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo, Mom’s lasagna, chicken piccata, garlic broccoli, ciabatta rolls and a dessert sampler. The latter features mini butter cakes, mini cheesecakes, chocolate zuccoto bites and fresh strawberries with sauce and whipped cream.
Pasta, steak and a lighter choice
Three of Darden’s brands are offering Mother’s Day meals to go this year. Olive Garden is promoting order ahead and carside pickup for mom’s favorite pasta dish. A bottle of wine can be added for $15 and beer for $3. Families can also buy a $50 gift card and get $10 off the order.
Seasons 52 offers menus for either two or four to six people featuring entrees prepared with lightened-up cooking techniques. There’s a whole side of cedar-plank roasted salmon, a wood-grilled beef tenderloin and a glazed spiral ham dinner. Each comes with several sides and the chain’s signature mini indulgences for dessert. Prices range from $55 to $150, depending on entree choice and size. Bottles of wine are also available to purchase for takeout.
And the upscale Capital Grille is marketing “the dinner that mom deserves”—a surf-and-turf combo of roasted tenderloin and butter poached lobster tails ($135 to $245); purchasers can sub garlic shrimp scampi for lobster tails at a price break ($110 to $195). The multicourse dinner includes breads, salad, sides, dessert and a freebie of housemade lemon tea cookies as a gift for mom. Customers are invited to purchase a bottle of sparkling wine or a batch of signature martinis, where permitted.
BBQ and a contest
A social media giveaway is launching at Dickey’s BarbecuePit for Mother’s Day weekend. Guests are invited to post the best advice their mom ever gave them, using the hashtag #motherlyadvice and tagging Dickey’s on their own Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feeds anytime in May. A winner will be chosen randomly to win free barbecue for a year. To accompany the contest, Dickey’s is offering its Family Packs for four diners, which include a pound each of pulled pork and smoked brisket, choice of barbecue sauce, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and rolls for $34.99.
Feasts with flowers
Multiconcept and independent restaurants are also upping their Mother’s Day takeout game. Concepts in the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises group have several packages on offer. Aba is doing up a Mediterranean spread with hummus, salad, beef tenderloin and chicken kebabs and chocolate torte for $25.95 per person, and the restaurant teamed up with a Chicago florist so purchasers can add on a flower arrangement for $45 to $65 extra. Beatrix is also pairing food and flowers with its Mother’s Day Brunch & Bouquet Bundle for four ($110.95). It includes baked apple French toast, scrambled eggs, maple bacon, chicken sausage, berry parfaits, orange juice and coffee plus a flower bouquet for mom.
Boka restaurant in Chicago has been closed since March 16 but reopened last week for takeout and is featuring a couple of Mother’s Day specials. For brunch, the chefs will be menuing homemade bagels with smoked salmon, a spring vegetable quiche, kale and Brussels sprouts salad and fresh fruit with yogurt and granola ($60 for two). And the dinner menu includes Boka’s popular duck for two: a honey-lacquered duck breast and leg confit with appetizer, sides and dessert for $85.
Meal kits for mom
Meal kits caught on during the pandemic, and several restaurants are featuring versions for Mother’s Day. Sushi Roku and Katana in the Los Angeles area are featuring a DIY Hand Roll Kit for four ($120), complete with guide and enough ingredients to create 25 to 30 hand rolls. Included in the platters are nori, sushi rice, vegetables and fresh seafood such as snow crab with spicy mayo, albacore tuna and salmon with soy truffle.
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants are still closed, but the company’s premier events division created Mother’s Day in a Box. Purchasers can order a complete brunch or dinner and add on a mimosa or Bellini kit or wine. The brunch boxes are sized for four to 10 ($125 to $299) and include glazed spiral-cut ham, turkey breast, egg strata, sausage, assorted vegetables, pastries and rolls. The dinner boxes can be ordered as either an Italian meal or bistro dinner ($155 to $299). Both boxes come with dark chocolate and raspberry truffles and cupcakes.
LSRs stretch the limits
Limited-service chains aren’t usually as invested in Mother’s Day promotions, but this year, several have expanded the size and scope of their offerings. Buckets of KFC chicken are popular orders on Mother’s Day, but this year, the chain is personalizing the tradition with a video chat dinner invitation to send mom. Participants visit the KFC Facebook page to invite mom and other family members through Facebook messenger to share a Mother’s Day meal together, even if they’re quarantining separately. The Colonel himself coordinates the meal time and sends reminders to connect for the video chat. There are also deals on buckets of chicken: $20 for one meal and $30 for a new Fill Up offer, enough for two meals.
Chicken chain Chick N Max also has a Mother’s Day family meal for four ($39.99 if ordered ahead). It includes two half chickens, six tenders, two sides, cornbread, a pound of chicken salad and four cookies.
Fast casual Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe is featuring chicken for Mother’s Day too. Its Grilled Chicken Dinner for Four includes a Greek salad, potatoes, pint of whipped feta cheese, baked pitas and a bottle of wine for $50. Each meal is packed with a blank greeting card designed by a Nashville calligraphy company, and family members can inscribe their own message inside.
Bakery cafe Paris Baguette is covering the fancy Mother’s Day dessert category. Two limited-edition cakes are available: Mom’s Blueberry Bliss Cake and Mom’s Favorite Strawberry Cake. Each three-layer creation is filled with soft cream and topped with fresh berries, along with a chocolate “Happy Mother’s Day” message.