This year, the question is not: Should I stay or should I go? Rather, it’s should I order in or should I cook [insert Passover or Easter for those who celebrate)?
Over the past month, restaurants across the country have pivoted drastically to retain some business and provide service for customers.
Switching to delivery and takeout or curbside pickup as their dining rooms remain closed, diners, delis and five-star establishments alike are making matzoh ball soup out of, well, matzoh.
With a stay-at-home order blanketing most of the nation this April, Passover and Easter traditions in households around the United States are being adjusted as those who celebrate try to maintain their usual routines in uncertain times.
One option is to place an order, sit back and wait for the delivery.
In Manhattan, Katz’s Delicatessen has traditionally offered a Passover menu, including its famous brisket, as part of its packages ready to be shipped nationwide. And 2020 is no different.
A la carte delivery is also available for those in the New York area.
Those who would usually be brunching at The General Muir, a New York-style deli in Atlanta, can get its bakery’s house-baked matzoh as part of a Passover prix fixe available April 8 and 9.
In Los Angeles, Akasha Restaurant is offering a combination of dishes and Passover staples ranging from boxed matzo, haroset and vegan chopped liver to a full dinner for two, including a Seder plate.
Across town, Jar’s a la carte Passover options include the restaurant’s signature pot roast and chocolate-covered matzah with pecans and toffee for dessert.
Having a full Passover dinner on deck is the type of adjustment that’s coming through for Judy and Lee Weiner, members of the Landings Golf Club on Skidaway Island just outside Savannah, Georgia.
Though the Weiners would typically host a potluck Seder with friends, this year they’ll be taking advantage of the club’s curbside pickup option. “We might do a Zoom Seder with friends,” Judy says. “Otherwise, you feel really isolated.”
Those who usually celebrate Easter with a lavish buffet or brunch at a restaurant may be turning to other comfort foods this year.
In New York, Upper East Sider Amy Rizzo has seen her tradition upended. “My husband and I always attend church service on Easter Sunday, then go to Sarabeth’s for brunch,” she says.
But with some restaurants such as Sarabeth’s choosing to close completely at this time, she’s looking for other options and making a backup plan.
“We are trying to support restaurants when we can as we know they’re struggling,” Rizzo notes, “but I will be cooking if all else fails.”
For Manhattan residents looking for a welcome touch of luxury for their Easter dinner, both Marea and Osteria Morini will have spring-centric prix fixe menus for pick-up and delivery, complete with carrot cake.
However, smaller restaurants and bakeries are trying to make the most of the situation and offering alternatives.
Jacob’s Pickles, a Southern-focused spot in Manhattan, will be featuring full Easter and Passover dinners for one or two people. Along with deviled eggs and braised lamb shanks or brisket, customers have the option to add bottles of wine or growlers at 50% off.
DIY dye and deviled eggs
In Nashville, catering company The Party Line is offering whole carrot cakes, egg dyeing kits or a full Easter brunch for delivery.
Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham, Alabama, is supporting its local vendors through its Easter pickup and delivery menu with deviled farm eggs, peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp and brown sugar cake with fresh strawberries.
And Easy Tiger, the laid-back bakeshop and beer garden in Austin, Texas, will have a limited Easter-centric offering, including asparagus and cheese quiche, fresh dinner rolls and a personal-size lemon tart.
With many home cooks feeling overwhelmed and burned out from the pressure of providing daily family meals, a delivered Easter or Passover dinner may be a greater cause for celebration this year.
Casey Barber is a food writer, photographer, and illustrator; the author of the cookbooks “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. Food. Stories.