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New Lansing area restaurant opens amid COVID cancellations and closures

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 4:13 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The owners of a new Mid-Michigan restaurant say now is the perfect time to open, despite the fact that a lot of restaurants are struggling right now to survive the pandemic.

Amer1can Bistro is celebrated its grand opening on Monday.

And the owners tell News 10 that opening during a pandemic, has its advantages.

“More than a few people have asked us if we lost our minds,” laughed operating partner, Scott Berman.

Lansing Regional Chamber even calling a ‘restaurant start-up’ a bold move under the current COVID conditions.

“It’s definitely going to be an interesting time for them, but we have to commend them for being bold and innovative and trying something new,” said Michelle Rahl of the chamber.

But Amer1can Bistro is up for the challenge.

“The COVID break gave us an opportunity to develop a concept that really survived the community,” said Berman.

The new restaurant used the pandemic to shape their space, focusing on extended outdoor seating, providing a touch-less ordering and payment, curbside pickup and a new “car hop service” where food is served to customers in their car.

“We will gladly bring out a menu to them,” said general manager James Erevia. “We want to make sure we service everybody depending on their comfort levels.”

Berman hoping these options will help make up financially as they are forced to open at 50% capacity.

“It is financially a challenge and we would be kidding to say anything less.”

Amer1can Bistro knowing first hand that stakes are high, as their business replaced Cantina Eastwood, a restaurant that couldn’t keep up.

“Cantina, it did fall victim to COVID,” said Berman.

Cantina’s not alone.

The chamber says several Lansing area restaurants and bars have had to close.

“It is a terrible loss for the foodies and for everyone,” said Rahl.

That’s why the chamber is working with Amer1can Bistro and other restaurants to provide resources to keep them afloat.

“We are continuing to find innovative ways to support that industry as a whole, sharing different contact and promotional opportunities.”

To attract new guests, Amer1can Bistro is doing online giveaways and providing live music on their extended patio, this hoping to entertain guests seated or even those that are enjoying their meal from the comfort of their car with the new car hop option.

Like many businesses and restaurants, Amer1can Bistro will have extra masks on hand to give to those who don’t have one, as masks are now required by way of the Governor’s Executive Order.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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