Mike and I were out on an adventure this weekend scouting what was open or not and we wound up at Vino Grille. I decided to do a review of a new element for me: A restaurant’s response to COVID-19. We live in different times, and we will for a while yet, so it’s very important to highlight this. COVID-19 has revealed the worst and best in people and I think how a business responds to COVID-19 reflects on their character as a whole. It is unethical, selfish, greedy, dangerous and irresponsible for businesses to put profits over the safety and well being of their employees and the people they serve (Cough cough, Hormel and Iowa).
COVID-19 Responsibility (4.5/5)
Most, if not all restaurants with dine-in areas open again in Fresno, are following guidelines on this document provided by the County of Fresno. Below are the most notable steps, and how Vino Grille did.
- Reservation only dine-in. This approach has allowed the capacity of the restaurant to not only be in “safe” numbers, but also allow for customers to actually dine in, rather than be in an eternally long line.
- The employees all wore “masks” (helmets with a plexiglass barrier), practiced social distancing whenever possible, and made minimal contact with food items, utensils, and people.
- Sanitation is performed regularly on commonly used surfaces and areas. There was a hand sanitizer station nearby for guests and employees.
- The tables (at least inside) were all spaced 6 or more feet apart.
The only time where social distancing seemed more lax was for outdoor area. I’m not sure how one reserves a space outdoor (if they have to), or if you just ask when you arrive. At least all the employees still practiced safety when they were outside.
For food, we had the Chef’s platter and Crispy Calamari. The Chef’s platter was what we had first, and for $16, I think it’s reasonable for all the variety of goods it had. It had an assortment of cheeses (cheddar cheese, some brie like cheese with blue mold, and a somewhat creamy cheese with that was sweet and tangy) charcuteries (salami, and seasoned deli ham slices), crostinis, and dried fruit and nuts. The Calamari was good as a final snack to hold us down with our final round of drinks. Though I have to say, it was a bit pricey for $13, considering that is was a rather light snack than it was a meal.
Drinks (for beer, 5/5)
There is a myriad of drinking options, most of which can be seen on their online menu. I had the draft beers, which is $6 for 16 ounces. As a young drinker, I really like to try new things, especially with beers. Thanks to Vino’s for having a unique selection of draft beers. I had Southgate’s Blood Orange IPA and Coronado Island’s Early Bird Milk Stout. As this post is primarily to review Vino, I’ll keep my thoughts on the beers short. The Blood Orange IPA was very unique. This IPA is made less bitter and more smooth thanks to the blood orange. It’s definitely beer you’d want to sip on and smell as if it were a wine. The Early Bird Milk Stout is a dark and stronger tasting beer, accentuated by coffee, and somewhat sweet and creamy by milk (lactose). Note: these items are not on their online menu; I assume that some drinking selections get changed occasionally.
If you’d like to check out their website you can after the jump.