Irene selfie dining out coronavirusIrene Jiang/Business Insider

One of the things I missed the most about life before the pandemic was dining out.
So when Seattle allowed restaurants to reopen their dining rooms, I jumped at the chance to sit down for a nice meal prepared by somebody other than myself.
I went to RockCreek Seafood & Spirits, an upscale seafood restaurant in Fremont that was one of the only restaurants to reopen days after the announcement took effect.
Even with distanced tables, masked staff, and an abridged menu, my dinner out captured the same mundane joy that dining out always used to bring me.
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Early on in the pandemic, I’d sometimes curl into the fetal position and sob into a pillow thinking about all the things I missed from the before times. Hugs from friends, living room movie nights, clinking glasses in a crowded pub. But perhaps most of all, I missed dining out.

Many of us took the experience of eating at a restaurant for granted before the pandemic snatched it away. And for this restaurant reporter, the cataclysmic effects of the pandemic on the restaurant industry unfolded in excruciatingly clear 4k resolution.

85% of independent restaurants may not make it to the end of this year. That’s your mom-and-pop diner, your go-to Thai kitchen, your neighborhood pizza parlor, your family-owned Mexican restaurant with the amazing lunch special. 

So when Seattle allowed restaurants to reopen dining rooms at limited capacity, I jumped at the chance to sit down for a dinner prepared by someone other than myself. Only a handful of restaurants near me reopened, so we went to RockCreek Seafood & Spirits, an upscale seafood restaurant suggested by my boyfriend’s coworker.

We waited outside for the other members of our dining party to arrive for our 8:00 pm reservation. RockCreek had socially distanced its patio tables for outdoor diners, but its efforts were thwarted by Seattle’s incessant rain.
Irene Jiang/Business Insider
As we entered, we each stopped by the door at a shiny new automatic dispenser to baptize ourselves in hand sanitizer.
Irene Jiang/Business Insider
Inside, tables were few and far between, and all staff were wearing surgical masks. We were the last seating for RockCreek’s first night open, and the restaurant was mostly full to its 25% capacity limit.
Irene Jiang/Business Insider
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