Margaritas to go?: RI restaurants prepare to sell mixed drinks with takeout orders

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Islanders will soon be able to enjoy a mixed drink from their favorite restaurant in the comfort of their own home.

Gov. Gina Raimondo gave restaurants the green light earlier this week to sell mixed drinks with takeout orders. In mid-March, she gave businesses the OK to sell takeout wine and beer.

“This industry has been crushed all over the country and we have to focus on helping them get back to work,” Raimondo said.

Chris Tarro, owner of Siena, is hopeful this will help establishments who are really struggling to stay afloat.

“I don’t think there are any restaurants that are going to pay their bills or make money doing takeout,” he said. “I think we are all trying to keep alive and stay alive for our staff.”

Tarro said Siena is offering larger sized cocktails to prevent customers from returning for another round.

“I think most people are going to do bigger sangrias and margaritas and those shareable cocktails,” he said.

Tarro has had to temporarily close his Providence location throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but believes selling mixed drinks to go will have a positive effect on his staff.

“It gives an opportunity to move through some inventory we are sitting on,” he said. “It’s not only about what we’re selling. It’s about turning our inventory into working dollars in this tough environment.”

Restaurants like Tarro’s are not allowed to reopen during Phase 1 of Raimondo’s plan to reopen the state’s economy. He said while his business has received an outpouring of support from the community, he’s hopeful he can open his dining area at his restaurants soon.

“Allowing us to sell cocktails, it will help, but the real game-changer is letting people inside of our restaurants as soon as possible safely,” Tarro said. “We as an industry know how to deal with safety, we deal with foodborne illness and stuff all the time. As much as we love the cocktails, and it’s actually a lot of fun in a bad environment right now, we can’t wait to get out guests inside our restaurants so we can get back to what we’re best at.”

Restaurants across the state, including The Revival Craft Kitchen and Bar, are already using social media to advertise their Mother’s Day Weekend specials. Raimondo said all mixed drinks must be sold in sealed containers.

She also encouraged everyone to not only be responsible, but generous.

“Leave a big tip, order a few drinks,” she said. “Help these guys out.”

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