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Local Tallahassee Restaurants Still Open Amid Outbreak

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, many businesses have been forced to close their doors to customers all over the country. Florida has been no exception, as the governor ordered only essential businesses stay open in order to avoid large groups of people to form. To be more specific, Tallahassee has even issued a stay-at-home order for the people that reside here, even including an 11:00 p.m. curfew to go with it. This in turn has caused an economic downfall across the country, but restaurants have been holding on to hope by still offering takeout services. Since the move to online courses for Florida State, I am one of the students who opted to remain in Tallahassee. I figured if I was to be paying rent for an apartment, I might as well occupy it. Once  the Governor put the order in for restaurants to close their doors to guests, some Tallahassee establishments immediately ran into action. An ensemble of restaurants made a day titled,  “Rally for Tally.” The purpose of the all-day event was for the people of Tallahassee to dedicate their Saturday lunch or dinners to eating local. While I was not in town for the event, it reminded me of the importance of giving local restaurants a chance to remain in business, especially when the flow of money has decreased across the nation. Therefore, I decided to dedicate every Saturday to eating only locally, while I cook the rest of the week. Although it has only been a few weeks, the restaurants I have tried have been nothing short of great! I decided to compose a list of restaurants I have given a go, and one that I am planning to order takeout from in the near future. Before the list begins, all these places have vegetarian options, since I choose not to eat meat!

1. Gaines Street Pies

Gaines Street Pies has been a Tallahassee favorite for years. If you’ve never been, they offer the most delicious and fun pizzas that you can imagine. They offer something for everyone, and there are plenty of vegetarian options! My go-to pie is the “Derek Sanders is a Vegetarian”, and I make sure to get their incredibly huge 18” pie, as a way to have lunch and dinner. The establishment is doing takeout and delivery and has specials that you can keep up with via Facebook, even offering FREE garlic knots at one point. Free or not, I order six garlic knots anyways, because they are to die for! The restaurant has not let the virus stop them from giving back to the Tallahassee community either. Since the closure of schools, Gaines Street Pies has opened a donation to have locals support all kids having access to hot lunch. Their website states, “You can purchase an individual lunch for as low as $1.50 or sponsor a complete drop off for $75!” Any donations can be made directly through their website.

2. Persis Biryani Grill

Now if there is one thing I love, its Indian cuisine. I consider this cuisine to be one of my favorites due to the intricate flavorings and endless vegetarian options. Who  doesn’t love a good curry? After trying out a few local places in town over the past couple of years of being in Tallahassee, I have landed on the fact that Persis is by far my favorite. Being on Mahan Drive, it is a bit far from the FSU area, but I always find myself making the drive because I just simply love this restaurant. Although its hard to pin down one dish, my go-to would have to be the Navarattan Khorma. It is an extremely delicious curry that has a medley of vegetables mixed in it, as well as paneer cubes. All entrees come with basmati rice and are always made in a timely manner. I have never had anything short of an amazing experience here, so next time your craving Indian cuisine, try Persis!

3. Tour of Italy Italian Kitchen

When I think of takeout, Italian food always slips my mind. I recently decided to give Italian takeout a go and had to choose between many local places that sounded promising. I landed on the “Tour of Italy” due to the vast amount of vegetarian options they have to offer. They offer both delivery and takeout and I opted to take-out due to living a bit further from the restaurant. My boyfriend and I ordered a “Tour of Italy,” where you get to choose three dishes to get smaller portions for $16. We got the “eggplant parmesan,” “eggplant lasagna” and the “fettucine alfredo”. We also ordered a “baked ziti” since there would be two of us. Now when I say this was a ton of food, I mean it. I was shocked by how big the portions were, and on top of that each entrée came with garlic knots and house salad! Everything was super delicious, especially the eggplant lasagna! I think about the eggplant lasagna quite often, so I will have to go back soon!

4. Madison Social

Since only being in Tallahassee a few weeks (three Saturdays), I haven’t had the chance to make it out to the FSU favorite yet. However, I am excited to try out one of their services in the near future, as they have offered a number of unique services aside from their takeout/delivery menu. They recently started a “Tallahassee Cocktail Club” where they partnered with Sage to bring the subscriber two cocktails from the establishments every Friday in May for $80. Since the month of May has five Fridays, each person will be getting 10 cocktails throughout the month. Considering these places are known for their delicious cocktails this is such a steal! You can join the club via pickup or delivery. Also, the establishment is still doing their April monthly challenge, and has  recently released their super cute tee for their May monthly challenge that I have been eyeing on their Facebook page! They update their social media regularly, allowing you to have easy access to all the fun things they have going on!

Since the start of this pandemic, many restaurants and stores have taken a hit. It is important to remember your favorite local spots the next time your thinking of ordering takeout. I know as a college student, whose work hours have been reduced, I can only afford to eat out once a week, but I make sure I’m dedicating that once a week spot to somewhere local! Although Chipotle is one of my go-to’s, my craving for a bowl can wait, and I can try one of the many places that offer great taco takeout packages instead. Not in Tallahassee right now? Let this article serve as a reminder to give that small Italian place a chance, it could become a favorite of yours! Have any local suggestions for me to try next? Let me know!

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Editing, Writing and Media major at FSU with a minor in business. Lover of plants, home decor, soccer, and thrifting!
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