Special take-out menus are selling fast and providing the hard-hit service industry with a lifeline and a silver lining to end the year.
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At Mr. Jiu's in Chinatown, owner Brandon Jew says he's thankful to be preparing special New Year's Eve take out meals in the form of a tasting menu.
"It's like five courses, things are really measured out very precisely, so everything is ready for you to finish," said Jew. "We sold out, pretty much in two days for New Year's Eve, so we sold 100 tickets at $145/each."
Mr. Jui's is just one of dozens of restaurants in the Bay Area that's offering elaborate take-out meals to help ring in the new year.
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At Rintaro's in the Mission, beautiful wood boxes just arrived for the $425 Osechi Bento Boxes, filled with traditional Japanese dishes.
"The first layer here, there will be a spiny lobster with a roasted liberty duck," said owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett."
The boxes were handmade by the owner's father.
"We put them up online about two weeks ago and I Instagrammed something about it and we sold out in about 14 minutes which was a little shocking."
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That kind of good news is rare these days for the restaurant industry, that's been pushed to the brink. Rintaro's New Year's eve meals will make up about one week of revenue, a much-needed boost. On Tock, a platform for delivery, online and reservations, 85 Bay
Area restaurants are listed with special NYE to-go menus, from feasts for one to multi-course meals to champagne toasts.
"People want to celebrate the fact that we're moving on from this year and still do something special this New Year's," said Bryan Ferschinger, Chief Marketing Officer at Tock. "Demand's really strong, a lot of these restaurants are selling out"
For the owners at Mr. Jui's and Rintaro serving New Year's Eve meals is a chance to end the most difficult year on a positive note.
"Right now it's the only lifeline that we have really," said Jew.
"A lot of the foods are pretty hopeful and forgetting about the old year and looking forward to the new year so everyone's done with 2020," described Brackett, about the food that will go inside the boxes, including persimmons from a tree on his property. " This can hopefully ring in 2021."