Local restaurants lean on social media support, dining igloos to outlast restrictions

SPOKANE, Wash.– Latah Bistro is serving up a creative solution to a complex problem. The Spokane-area restaurant just debuted dining globes. Server and social media manager Haley Hill said it’s their latest way to adjust to the challenges of this pandemic. Indoor dining is still banned in Washington to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The globes were a hit this weekend,” Hill said.

During a cold Inland Northwest winter, globes can provide a cute and cozy getaway. It allows restaurants to expand their seating, too. At Latah Bistro, reservations are required. They have both a happy hour option and dinner option for booking the globes. Hill said each one is properly sanitized between guests.

News spread quickly as soon as Hill shared photos of the new additions to social media. She noted that tech has been a great tool to share the word about their menu, hours, and wine club.

“The more that people find out about us, the better, because we have fantastic food and your friend’s reviews are always going to mean more to you than anything you see,” Hill said.

Kris Kilduff sees proof of that every day. About a year ago, he founded the local Facebook group Food Finder Spokane. As the name suggests, it’s all about local eats. Kilduff said it’s connected restaurant owners to a new audience.

“We’re not only finding food, we’re creating relationships,” Kilduff said.

With nearly 11,000 page members, it is clear to see people have an appetite for this kind of content. Kilduff said it’s driven sales for local restaurants, from fine dining establishments to dive bars. He recounted a post about Charlie P’s offering a corn dog special. It quickly took off.

“They just did a hand-dipped corn dog special and posted on there and sold 32 in an hour,” Kilduff said. “So, you know, it’s unique to see the range. Sometimes people are just talking about where you can get the best pizza by the slice. Sometimes people are finding their favorite new restaurant.”

There’s still no clear timeline as to when the region will enter the next stage of reopening. Certain health guidelines must be met first. In the meantime, whether you’re dining in a dome or featuring your food online, Hill hopes you’ll stay hungry.

“Just given this element of hope that we are finally on the road to recovery, maybe everybody will be more concerned about their own safety measures, make sure that we can get back to business as soon as possible,” Hill said.

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