Mark Pluhacek couldn’t wrap his head around the idea of reopening his popular Dundee restaurant.
Yes, customers of Marks Bistro, 4916 Underwood Ave., are loyal, and yes, restaurants have the green light from the state to fully reopen.
But the risks posed by the coronavirus — to customers and employees — were too much, he said. Emerging research that the virus may last longer and drift farther in the air, especially indoors, has only added to his concern, he said.
“Honestly, everything I read about what the CDC and other people were recommending — don’t go to closed-in areas for long periods of time where people aren’t wearing a mask — well, that is what a restaurant is,” Pluhacek said. “People are sitting at tables for two hours at a time without masks.”
So instead, Marks is pivoting toward the retail sale of gourmet foods that people can use to prepare restaurant quality meals at home. Think specialty vinegar, sauces, condiments, heirloom grains and beans and imported pastas. Recipes will be provided.
Marks, which would have celebrated its 17th year in Dundee this fall, is among a number of popular restaurants to announce that they aren’t reopening. Others, including the nearby Dundee Dell, are closing for good, but Pluhacek said he hopes the day comes when Marks Bistro can reopen.
Pluhacek said he sympathizes with small restaurants that are trying to stay open.
“I’m in a position where I can pivot,” he said. “There are other restaurants that don’t have that option, and that’s unfortunate.”
Marks Market and Bottle Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., effective immediately. Masks will be required of all shoppers.
“We want to be the best thing that we can be for the neighborhood at this time,” he said.
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