When Ramona Young hands the carton of seafood stew over the takeout window at Queen’s Cuisine, it’s hard to believe such a generous feast of shrimp and crab and sausage and spice can even fit through the small frame.
When she gets a compliment on another great dish, it’s hard to believe the plastic face shield she wears for coronavirus safety can contain the smile that blooms across her face.
Believe it. This is still the same Queen’s Cuisine, the soul food restaurant that Young and her family run years on Airline Drive in Kenner.
But in the pandemic, they deemed the dining room at Queen’s too small to safely welcome guests. So the family made their own DIY takeout window and got back to the business of great New Orleans Creole soul food.
Many restaurants are now back open. Yet, as long as the virus is out there takeout will be an important option for many and the only avenue for some.
So, the walk-up window, normally the domain of burger joints and snowball stands, is becoming a fixture for many different types of restaurants.
At Junior’s on Harrison, in Lakeview, a window keeps the whole menu of burgers and salads and tacos flowing for takeout, even since Junior’s resumed dine-in service.
In the Marigny, the bagel shop and vegetarian café Small Mart turned its doorways into takeout windows, serving to the sidewalk exclusively.
Gabrielle Restaurant on Orleans Avenue serves its crab bisque, roast duck and gulf fish with chili aioli from a cheerful little takeout window looking right into the kitchen.
Even the old school Angelo Brocato confectionary has added a takeout window. It adds flexibility for customers, and the business, which after all is trying to keep everyone safe as they come by for gelato and cannoli. A sign by the window offers these sage words to waiting customers: “old normal – courtesy and patience. New normal – courtesy and patience plus six feet.”
That’s not just timely advice for takeout. These days, that’s wisdom you can take to the bank.