Hit hard by virus, fine dining finds new ways to serve

Since then, Crenn and a skeleton crew — 20 of the 70 people she usually employs — have made hundreds of meals for medical workers and firefighters. Copenhagen’s Noma, which usually requires reservations months ahead, opened an outdoor burger and wine bar. Les Amis in Singapore is selling grocery items like artisanal butter and caviar. But fine dining was hit hardest of all, says David Portalatin, an industry adviser with The NPD Group. At the low point, in April, U.S. fine dining transactions were down 82% from a year ago, he said. Fourteen U.S. restaurants — including Atelier Crenn and Alinea — have earned the highest rating of three stars from the Michelin Guide. Of those, just one — The Inn at Little Washington in rural Virginia — has reopened its dining room at half capacity. The restaurant put mannequins at its empty tables to make the space look more inviting. Eleven Madison Park in New York is making 3,000 meals per day for frontline workers. It started with entrees like beef wellington, which sold out every night, and moved on to tasting menus. Kokonas said carryout was so successful that Alinea hired all its employees back by the end of April at 80% of their former pay and benefits. He thinks to-go meals will remain even after the restaurant reopens its dining room later this summer. Toshi Szpyra, a behavioral analyst in Chicago, was looking forward to celebrating her wedding anniversary at Alinea earlier this month. Scallops with ham and peas on fennel with a white wine vermouthcream sauce. But starting in July, co-owner Lindsay Tusk is planning to offer lunches and dinners at the Marin County farm that grows the restaurant’s produce. Connecting over nature and food in a beautiful setting and providing a genuine experience — that’s what we need,” she said. Tusk usually employs 170 people at three restaurants: Quince, the less formal sibling Cotogna and wine bar Verjus. Manresa, a three-star restaurant in Los Gatos, California, made its full wine list available alongside takeout food and it’s made more than ,000 just from selling wine, much of it to collectors looking for rare bottles. Crenn just published a memoir, and she used a ,000donation from Lexus to make meals for medical workers. ___ AP Writers Thomas Adamson in Paris and Jan Olsen in Copenhagen contributed.