Reopening restaurants is tough, but grilling fruit at home is not

Evan Kleiman says you can grill all sorts of fruit, including watermelon. Photo by Pixabay.

Evan Kleiman, Good Food host and former restaurant owner, talks about what it’s like to reopen a restaurant during the pandemic. 

“The economics of reopening is very, very tough. And then navigating the new health department rules is also really difficult. And I think that the different communities of people who own restaurants plug into the new rules and the oversight — not always the same. So I think for some people who are online and can reach out and have larger communities, it's easier to get information. I think, from mom and pop places, that it's very difficult,” she says. 

Kleiman points out that the LA’s health department recently visited 2000 restaurants and found that 1000 of them did not comply with safety rules. “The other thing is restaurants are being asked to police people who were formerly known as diners, and a lot of whom now don't want to be compliant.”

Reopening means cultural changes too. Communal dining may have an uncertain future. “What about the kind of food that is only really presented in a communal setting? A lot of Middle Eastern, food Ethiopian restaurants,” she says. 

On a different subject — summer officially begins this weekend, and many people are bringing out their grills. Kleiman recommends grilling fruit, such as grapes, bananas, watermelon, and stone fruit such as apricots and peaches. 

Her advice for stone fruit: “Cut them in half, remove the pits. You can dredge them in sugar if they're not quite super sweet. If they're ripe, just put them right on the grill. Make sure your grill is well-greased, and don't move them [fruit] around. Just let them create a crust so that then they won't stick.”