Hurricane Delta’s impact provides a glimpse at how colder weather will affect local restaurants

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hurricane Delta is making it’s way to the Mid-South, and while it’s not expected to cause major damage, it could have a major effect on the way that restaurants and bars do business.

Making it’s way up from the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Delta is expected to create a soggy weekend in the Mid-South, but the next couple of days aren’t cause for much concern.

 “We have the umbrellas as you can see,” said The Beauty Shop bartender Sarah Mosley. “We have the domes, the patched roofs. Lots of covering for people to sit under.”

But the weekend does serve as a potential preview of upcoming challenges. Many restaurants have gone to primarily patio seating since COVID hit due to health precautions.

Colder winter weather could cut down on outdoor demand, and restaurants are trying to make adjustments.

“The heaters are a new addition. Our propane heaters,” Mosley said.

But many owners and managers have the same ideas, and not everyone can add extra covering or heaters before the season begins.

“I can’t find any, anywhere,” said Miles Tamboli, owner of Tamboli’s Pasta and Pizza.

Tamboli’s Pasta and Pizza in Midtown has been open less than a year. On top of dealing with typical growing pains, they can’t just roll out the same game plan when facing a winter with COVID challenges.

We’re getting ready to have some indoor and outdoor hybrid dining pretty soon,” Tamboli said. “And I think that’s gonna help us out. Indoor enough to stay cozy but outdoor enough to stay safe.”

Restaurants we spoke with are optimistic about winter 2020, despite lower temperatures and the added wrinkle of the pandemic. Some believe their menu and experience is actually rising to the occasion.

“That added pressure on us has really changed our performance. We’ve gotten better at the way we staff, what workflow feels like, and our menu just keeps getting better and better,” Tamboli said.

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