Boston Restaurants During Coronavirus: Chinatown Delivers, Pizza and Cocktail Kits, and More

Your regular update on unique delivery deals, fundraisers, and other ways the industry is dealing with COVID-19.

These are unprecedented times, folks. Although some takeout and delivery options are still being offered, Boston’s restaurants continue to struggle amid a shutdown to on-premise dining that is slated to extend until April 6. Thousands are out of work, chef-owners are wrestling with major challenges to reopening, and there’s an absence of aid specifically directed to an industry that accounts for nearly 10 percent of the state’s workforce, according to the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.

As for diners? We desperately miss our favorite hangouts, the familiar faces that we are used to seeing inside, and the simple experience of gathering around a table—elbow to elbow, not six feet apart—to share food, drink, stories, and smiles. Have no doubt: We will get back there. But in the meanwhile, it’s important to stay on top of things—including, of course, how we can help our favorite establishments stay on their feet. We’ll continue to update our takeout and delivery guide, as well as all our helpful roundups and reporting on major industry movements. But we also wanted to create a recurring resource for easily digestible (pun intended), miscellaneous news bites related to how Boston restaurants and bars are navigating COVID-19. Here are a few things to know today.

China Pearl Dim Sum Chinatown

Dim Sum at China Pearl. / Photo by Adam DeTour

“Chinatown Delivers” is bringing dim sum south of the city.

If you’re homebound in the ‘burbs, but still craving dumplings and boba tea straight from Boston’s Chinatown—you’re in luck. Restaurateur Brian Moy, whose Shōjō and Ruckus noodle bar are among the most popular spots in the neighborhood, has partnered with several Chinatown businesses to provide a unique delivery service to Quincy and a handful of other surrounding towns south of Boston. Chinatown Delivers is accepting pre-paid phone and online orders for food from New Dong Khanh, TeaDo, and China Pearl, and will usher your selections to your doorstep. To keep things contact-free, drivers will confirm the drop-off via text or a call; there’s also a pickup option available. Head here to browse the details, hours of operation, and menu options—including China Pearl “survival kits” stuffed with lemongrass chicken wings, shui mai, and more.

Forage restaurant is now offering a CSA.

Not only is the Cambridge farm-to-table restaurant still providing takeout and delivery menus, but it’s now helping to keep our kitchens stocked for home cooking, too. Forage has launched a CSA program with its partner-purveyors, taking orders that might include goodies like lettuce from Corner Stalk Farm, a Boston-based operation that grows its greens in repurposed shipping containers; cream and milk from Wright’s Dairy Farm in Rhode Island; or mushrooms from Mycoterra Farm in the beautiful Berkshires. The latest lot of $50 shares is sold out, but head here for updates on what’s available, as well as delivery details.

Pizza Kit for Two, available from Capo Restaurant & Supper Club and Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant. / Photo provided

Broadway Restaurant Group has you covered with pizza and cocktail kits.

Hopefully, these recipes from star bartenders will help you jazz up your virtual happy hour. But if you need even more inspiration, head to Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar or the funky sushi hangout Fat Baby: Both South Boston branches of the Broadway Restaurant Group family are offering “cocktail kits” ($15)—recipe cards and non-alcoholic ingredients for 4-6 drinks—that’ll help you recreate their signature tipples at home. These cocktails will come in handy for washing down the “Pizza for Two Kits” ($14 cheese; $16 pepperoni) offered at two other siblings: Capo Restaurant & Supper Club, and  Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant. Call ahead to order your kits. Cooking together is a great date-night idea when you’re otherwise in social-distancing mode, so toss that dough, shimmy those shakers, and fire up the Netflix Party.

Help put some muscle behind the Restaurant Strong Fund.

Without stronger state and federal support for small restaurants, many of our favorite establishments will find themselves in truly dire straits—and so will the thousands of employees who (previously) made their income from wages and tips. There are a number of grassroots and industry-catalyzed efforts attempting to fill the void of assistance from other channels—and we’ll do our best to keep you in the loop on them. Here’s one to throw your weight behind: the Restaurant Strong Fund, which was launched by the Greg Hill Foundation and Samuel Adams beer, working with local chef-advisors Chris Coombs, Ken Oringer, and Ming Tsai. The fund is planning to distribute $1,000 grants to as many full-time, tip-compensated employees as possible. Head here to learn more, and send some support.

Clover Food Lab founder Ayr Muir with gourmet coffee pioneer George Howell in El Salvador. / Photo provided

The founder of Clover Food Lab has launched a live cooking show.

Need a break from the Food Network? Although the Clover chain of vegetarian fast-casual joints has temporarily paused operations, its founder, Ayr Muir, has found a new outlet for staying connected to customers: YouTube. This week, Muir launched a live cooking show, In Ayr’s Kitchen, to help viewers make use of pantry staples. The first episode focused on brownie baking; in the second, which airs today at 3 p.m., Muir will broadcast a chat with George Howell—our local pioneer of the gourmet coffee movement—and share how to brew the perfect cuppa. He’ll also share a how-to on making Clover’s flaky popovers. If you can’t catch the livestream, fear not: episodes are being permanently posted to Muir’s YouTube channel afterwards.