The steakhouse will reopen its dining room to the public and begin offering expanded carryout at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, Pine Club General Manager Karen Watson and Assistant General Manager Chris Ryan said.
“We have agonized over every detail of this,” Watson said. “We weren’t sure when the right time would be to reopen, but we hope this is it. We believe we have taken every precaution, and we are committed to doing it right.”
Diners will notice some changes inside the restaurant. Wood-and-plexiglass barriers will separate some tables, and those barriers are portable to accommodate different-sized parties. Seat-backs in the restaurant’s booths have been raised, and the height of a barrier between adjoining rows of booths also has been raised. Some chairs have been removed. Overall, the seating capacity has dropped by half, or nearly half, from the pre-pandemic maximum of about 120, Watson and Ryan said.
The distancing precautions will extend to the bar area, which in pre-pandemic times, would attract a crowd of people standing three-deep waiting for a table or enjoying a cocktail on weekend nights. There will be times when customers waiting for a table will be asked to wait in their cars for a call to their cell phones to alert them their table is ready.
But some things won’t change: The Pine Club still will not accept reservations, and it still will not accept credit cards. Bills can be paid by cash, check or a house charge, which can be opened on the spot.
Those who still might not be ready to dine inside will have expanded carryout options, which for the first time will include to-go cocktails, wines by the bottle or glass-sized portion, and beers. The entire food menu will be available for carryout. Carryout orders will be picked up “curbside” outside the rear of the restaurant, so customers will not have to walk in the front door to pick up their orders, and so food can be distributed in a limited-contact fashion.
Plans call for slightly scaled-back hours during the first week of operation — 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 1 — followed by a return to regular hours the following week, starting Monday, Aug. 3: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday. Those hours could change, depending on customer response, Watson and Ryan said.
The Pine Club, founded in 1947 and located at 1926 Brown St. near the University of Dayton, made a brief stab at carryout-only service after state officials’ original March 15 order to shut down dine-in services at all Ohio bars and restaurants, but abandoned the idea after about a week. Its kitchen and dining room have remained closed since March, although the restaurant has sold its uncooked steaks in special steak boxes from the restaurant’s back door on some holiday weekends. The steak boxes remain available for online ordering and delivery at ThePineClub.com.