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Harry’s Plaza Cafe in Santa Barbara reopens with new safety measures

Harry's Plaza Cafe
Courtesy Photo
Following a two month hiatus, guests have returned to dine in at Harry's Plaza Cafe.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Following a two-month hiatus, guests are back in the building for dine-in service at Harry's Plaza Cafe in Santa Barbara.

“Feels great,” said Kevin Hebert, Harry’s Plaza Cafe general manager. “The best part is having guests in here and being able to interact and have a conversation with them.”

Biran Sutherland is a regular customer at Harry's. He says he was at the restaurant the last night it was open.

“I have been waiting for it to reopen," Sutherland said. "Getting back here feels amazing.”

When the state forced restaurants to provide takeout service only, Harry’s lost 90 percent of its business within the blink of an eye. 

“It was a huge blow to us to make that quick adjustment in just a few days or so,” Hebert said. “It was kind of a burden on us.”

Two weeks ago, they reopened while bringing back a majority of their staff and implementing new safety measures. This means that the staff must only bring over napkins and silverware once customers sit down. 

It also requires everyone to wear a mask while walking around the restaurant.

“We were one of the first families that came in when they reopened and everybody was wearing a mask,” customer Elvina Geauque said.

In order to follow Santa Barbara County’s new guidelines, Harry’s has removed many tables in order to safely distance customers six-feet apart. 

The restaurant also installed plexiglass to add an extra layer of protection between its iconic red leather booths.

Longtime waitress Renee Donati has been working at Harry's for over 40 years. Despite COVID-19 concerns, she remains confident in the cleanliness of the restaurant. 

“This is the safest place you can be,” Donati said. “We’re so sanitized no one could catch a cold or anything here.”

Despite their safety efforts, Donati believes that some people are still hesitant about returning to the restaurant. 

“I think it’s going to take time because a lot of them are still kind of worried about coming in a restaurant,” Donati said.

Nevertheless, many of Harry’s regular customers continue to support the longtime staple. 

“For the most part, everyone is eager to comeback,” Hebert said.

“After working in my bedroom for the last three months, just getting out at one of our favorite spots has been fantastic,” Sutherland concluded.

Harry’s is now Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Sunday, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To make a reservation or order takeout, call 805-687-2800.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.


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