Russell’s on Macklind opening doors with new hours, exercising safety and comfort

One of the biggest losses during this pandemic has been the Russell’s on Macklind experience.

It’s not just the food or service; the people there are special and always make a customer feel good. The atmosphere gives off the idea that people are eating in their own homes with a great chef in the kitchen. There’s a reason so many pajamas and comfy pants are worn on a typical Saturday.

While owner and chef Russell Ping and his staff have provided their loyal foodies with curbside pickup and takeout orders the past couple of months, the dining room had become a barren landscape. The tables and chairs are gone, only the bar and table for orders being put to use. General Manager Faron Huster recently noted how badly he wants to allow people to eat and drink inside.

“I can’t wait for the inside to open up again,” Huster told me a few weeks ago while I was picking up a to-go order.

Well, Faron, you are getting your wish. Russell’s on Macklind is reopening on May 20, with new hours, safety measures, and limited seating available inside.

Ping posted on his and the restaurant’s Instagram page about the return Thursday afternoon. While scrolling through the usual dog pictures and “hey, we’re on a walk” shots, I saw Russell’s post and got excited. I saw hours, new ideas, and a date.

Here are the important things to remember:

*Curbside service is still available. If you aren’t feeling comfortable, calling in an hour is still there. There will be a new online ordering system put to use on May 20 that should speed up that process.

*They are using the OpenTable app for dinner reservations. Parties can only reach 4 for the time being.

*There will be reservations for brunch on Saturday and Sunday to cut down on crowds of people waiting outside the front door.

*Counter service will be available during the week for breakfast and lunch with a limited menu of Russell’s favorites. If your days haven’t been complete due to a lack of fried egg sandwiches and biscuits, the pain is about to be over. Remember those biscuits?

*Cocktail fans will enjoy a new listing of alcoholic to-go beverages that are similar to favorites like the Poolside, Float Trip, and Old Cuban. If you want to stop by and get a drink before carrying on down Macklind, you’ll have some newer choices to yank down the shades of a hard day with.

Old favorites, like the Breakfast Flatbread and the pictured at the top BLATE (BLT with an avocado and egg) are returning, as well as those mouth-watering biscuits.

*The hours are temporary. Summer hours essentially. One would think by fall, you could see extended hours and capacity if the healthy trends continue. This is a temporary set of hours. Here are the new hours, starting on May 20:

Wednesday: 9am-2pm, 4-9pm

Thursday: 9am-2pm, 4-9pm

Friday: 9am-2pm, 4-10pm

Saturday: 9am-2pm, 4-10pm

Sunday: 9am-2pm

Most importantly, Russell’s on Macklind will be following state and city-issued health guidelines. Employees will wear masks at all times. The tables will be six feet apart and there will be extensive sanitation on the tables, chairs, and public services after a previous party uses them. You won’t have to worry about being too close to someone else. I know things get dizzy after a couple Bloody Mary’s, so the extra space will add to the comfort.

That is the main idea. Safety and comfort inside a place that many people have called their brunch spot for years. Come May 20, it’s back open for business.

As Ping noted on Instagram, “your dreams of mid-week fried eggs and flatbreads are coming true.”

He also noted that we should be excited. He’s 100% correct on that. This is a nice development that hopefully gives people a dose of familiarity and safety-infused comfort.

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