As the State of Florida enters a new liberation phase today, we wanted to outline our plans for the next weeks before we begin our own “dancing with firewater’’ aka… tequila shots, today.

While we respect the decision of others to reopen for dining service today, we will not. We plan, emphasis on plan, to reopen for outdoor seating on Thursday the 14th, and look to Thursday the 28th for reduced capacity, indoor seating. Let us share how we are making this decision.

We initially chose to stop all service very early in this process in the best interest of the health of our team, the health of you, the Maxine’s dining family, and in consideration of the long-term fiscal health of Maxine’s on Shine. Shortly following that decision, the State of Florida asked all of us to stay safe at home, and limit commerce to essential business interactions. Following two weeks of self-quarantine, we began to implement a plan for carryout service, Maxine’s Market, and Maxine’s on Demand. That plan is now being fully activated as Maxine’s on Demand starting safely delivering delicious fresh food to neighborhoods in the Downtown area. We are thankful that Governor Desantis and Mayors Demmings and Dyer have instituted the option for businesses to safely reopen right away.

For Maxine’s on Shine, the best option is to take a planned approach just as we did at the onset of this crisis. Considerations are being made to best serve you in the following ways:

  1. Assembling our team. We have not had many of them in the house for 6 weeks. Putting proper systems into place, training, and adjusting to provide assurance that they will be safe, as will you, while still providing an enjoyable environment for working and dining. We have always striven to be a place to celebrate the passions of life and want you to continue to do so. There will be awkwardness initially for all as we will all address the new norm, but that does not mean it has to cause stress if handled in a polite and informed fashion. There is also the bumpy road of where the PPP loan and unemployment benefits meet, and financial decisions that individuals and businesses must choose to take in a short and informed timeline.
  2. Improving and extending the capacity for a sexy, comfortable, delicious, and safe outdoor dining experience. Tents with safe electricity for fans, lights, mosquito repellant apparatus and bad weather counter measures (the last two sound kinda’ ominous and official, don’t they?). Not too mention Maxine will be putting her table touch on décor, and that requires time for her discerning eye.
  3. Regarding indoor dining….”READ OUR FRONT DOOR SIGN”…in a George Bush, “read my lips” kind of way. We will follow health official recommendations. Forehead temperature scan, masks, safe distancing, and contact free guidelines will be required (please note, pants will be optional with a glove). Yes you will be allowed to take off your mask to eat, as we haven’t found “a behind the mask funnel method” that follows social acceptance standards yet, but you will be asked to put in back on when you pass through the dining room to wash your hands. Doing the right thing will improve your comfort level as opposed to increasing fake panic paranoia. Our staff will be wearing face shields or masks, adhering to hand cleanliness guidelines, offer direct table service or drop off station options, and presenting disinfected menus and pens or disposable ones to you.
  4. Maxine’s on Demand and Maxine’s Market. These extensions of Maxine’s on Shine are here to stay. We have always had visions of better serving you, and this crisis accelerated their implementation. In being a neighborhood establishment, Maxine’s Market allows us to offer a “restaurant chef” for home meal planning, and basic food/grocery provisions. The Tasty Beverage Emporium aspect of the market also allows for full package store alcohol sales at this time. We will be unveiling various components of this over the coming months. Maxine’s on Demand, go sign up at www.maxines.app right now if you haven’t already done so, provides a safe and reliable delivery option directly from our home to yours. Freshly made, ready to eat meals and drinks, preplanned home meal planning, and special event catering for neighborhood block parties, in home celebrations, and charitable contributions (see our gofundme goals on our website) are all components of this commitment. We want to get this right, and it takes time to develop so we can exceed your delivery expectations just as your dining expectations at Maxine’s on Shine. Reopening our doors too abruptly, could disrupt this long term game plan for success, and we are taking a Bill Belichick approach to that (he’s a kinda famous football coach for that).

Okay, we feel golden margaritas that need to be made in our immediate future. Well, mine will be sans alcohol as I just hit 90 days without a tasty beverage. I know of all times to take an indefinite break… Anyway, before we close out this phase, let us take a minute to support the establishments that are opening right away. Many establishments absolutely need to reopen right away. We were blessed with the PPP loan, and the ability to have had your tremendous support for pick up and package sales to date. Many have not. They adhere to the highest standards of cleanliness and desire to please and feed you. In our surrounding neighborhoods, many of them are friends not just co-workers, and we trust their hearts to provide you a safe and great experience. Now while the next portion does not apply to members of the Maxine’s dining family, we’ve read some pretty stupid comments on-line from some self-proclaimed foodies on why they won’t go out. Here are two, and our responses: “I don’t trust servers and kitchen workers to keep a safe distance or prepare our meals safely” or “ I don’t want to eat stuff that was thrown in a freezer or is out of date”. For the first, how do you think we have all been preparing to go and delivery orders already? Do you think the magic wand of common sense has instantly been taken from our trained and informed and washed and gloved service hands? Will you suddenly not be able to see the masks and shields on our face and spite your own all knowing nose? For the second, when was the last time you ate something from your freezer? If this answer is never, either you don’t cook or you live a pretty charmed life, and you can move on from this rant. If not, those thoughts are in bad taste, as in probably your cooking, and a good portion of why you dine out. Leave the cooking to us, and you will be happy you did. The Florida Department of Health is doing an excellent job of getting to restaurants for inspections, and reinforcing the guidelines for proper service for cleanliness, proper temperatures for cooling, heating, cooking, and storing that we follow on a “normal’ basis. This isn’t a “new norm” factor for any of us. We welcome inspections, and they help keep you and us safe. We were just inspected, and all of our items were properly labeled. Some were about to expire, and as we always do, when they hit that date…buh-bye, just like the money we invested in them, but those are the rules of our game. Now getting back to the positive side. Support your favorite restaurants or businesses today by visiting them if that is the right decision for you, just as it is their right to open their doors to you. Be polite, warm, and sensitive to safety requirements. You have the option to do this, and as it is an option, we have “optioned out” for in house dining just a little longer.

Have a beautiful day wherever it takes you,

Kirt & Maxine

PS… We love the responses we have been getting on how you answer the “How are you doing question”. We will be posting them online later this week.