Bardog, Slider Inn, Aldo’s Pizza, Momma’s temporarily closed

Packed House Productions, the company that runs what most of us locals think of as “the Aldo family of restaurants,” released the following statement this morning.

To Our Friends & Family,

Packed House Productions (PHP) restaurant and bar group – consisting of Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Bardog Tavern, Slider Inn, and Momma’s – learned on Wednesday, July 1, that an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

This employee does not work at any one specific establishment but does appear and has a presence at all of them at various times. The individual is not exhibiting any symptoms, is not a member of the customer-facing wait staff or kitchen crew, and has subsequently begun quarantining. Out of an abundance of caution and commitment to doing the right thing concerning our hard-working employees and loyal customer base, we made the decision to shut down all establishments, when, after conducting a cursory contact tracing inquiry, we saw this as a good opportunity to request every employee that works for us to be tested for coronavirus.

What this means for us:

While temporarily inconvenient, we look at this as an attempt to establish some semblance of baseline as we reckon with and navigate this new normal and try to responsibly move forward in a community fashion. In doing so:

– If employees test positive, they will follow recommended guidelines.
– Employees who test negative will return to work.
– Service hours may be modified based on staff availability.
– We will consistently provide socially-distanced, sanitized, and indoor and outdoor dining and drinking, regarding the safety of all as our most important concern.

What this means for you:

When we re-open, our businesses will persist – as we have done since the beginning of this pandemic – in being industry leaders that provide safe and healthy environments for all employees and customers.

Precautions set in place for both customers and staff will continue to include (but are not limited to):

– Temperature checks upon entry
– Masks required to be worn properly by staff at all times and by customers upon entry and while navigating the premises
– Hand washing/sanitizing between each guest interaction; regular staff inspections
– Non-communal table items, including QR menu codes, personalized condiments, and more
– Enforcing social distancing
– Sanitation stations

Fortunately, our industry has always been predicated on high standards of sanitation and cleanliness, and you’ve always trusted us with your health. You know we’re not going to start letting you down now. Please stay tuned to our social media channels for the most up-to-date information regarding our reopenings.

We can’t thank you enough for being faithful and look forward to meeting up soon for that drink or pizza, as we have so many times before.

– Your pals at PHP

Much love to everyone who works at any of the affected locations. I have no doubt precautions will be put in place to ensure employee and customer safety when they reopen.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that another Downtown business, not part of the PHP group, has also closed temporarily due to a positive COVID-19 test; however, I have not been by the business nor spoken to the owner to confirm its closure, so for now I will decline to name the business.

Everyone BE SAFE if you go out this weekend.

Thursday update

The trivia team had a clean sweep last night, winning first place in July 4/summer trivia by nearly 50 points and best team name. The name was “Nate would lick your toes if they had mustard on them.”

Great news for my East Memphis readers: You’re getting your own South of Beale location, permanently. The owners announced yesterday that they will take over the former Interim space and will open in August. For those of you who’ve never ventured Downtown to eat at the original SOB, here’s the menu, but there are only three words you need to know: Duck Fried Rice.

The Redbirds had already announced they weren’t coming back this season, but now it’s official league-wide: There will be no Minor League Baseball this year. While the majors can get by on TV deals, minor leagues are a butts-in-seats business and with distancing restrictions, it just doesn’t work.

In a very wise move, city leaders decided to limit e-scooter operations for the Fourth of July weekend. Last week, when people were drag racing on the streets of Downtown, teenagers on scooters were seen weaving in and out of the traffic. Beginning tonight, if you try to ride a scooter in the riverfront or entertainment district between 10 PM and 5 AM, the scooter will be programmed to slow to a halt.

The Post Office is considering closing the office in the Peabody Place office tower, meaning those of us in the heart of Downtown would no longer have a walkable option. If you’re not in favor of the move, get on USPS’s Contact Us page and leave feedback.

No movies at Malco Powerhouse for a while longer. Malco has delayed all Memphis theater openings.

The Memphis Flyer brings back Memphis Burger Week August 5 to 11. During this week you can get some of the city’s best burgers for $5.99.

Because of the coronavirus, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will go virtual this year. Runners will download an app and use it to track their progress.

River Time Market & Deli on Court Square now offers snack trays.

This is great news: Google is planning an upgrade to its Chrome web browser that will make it much less memory hungry. For people with older or low-cost computers that will make their Internet experience so much better.

All right, everyone. We’ve got a three-day weekend, but… the virus is here. As in, multiple members of the extended Downtown family have tested positive for COVID-19. I’m not saying, don’t go out, but if you do go out, be extra careful. Wear your mask, stay six feet apart from people not in your group. I know you’re all sick of hearing that but right now it’s super important. If you find yourself crowded by inconsiderate people who have no sense of social distancing, I recommend you get the F out of Dodge as quickly as you can do so.

That’s it. Back tomorrow if there is any news to report.

Wednesday update

In the COVID-19 task force press conference yesterday, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said that the task force is considering restrictions on social gathering locations such as bars. You know, Sunday I praised Bardog for their precautions, and I realized I missed a big one: That PLEASE WAIT TO BE SEATED sign at the door. It gives them control over where people go in their establishment. With that measure in place, you don’t get groups of eight to ten people walking right in, maskless, and walking right up to the bar and crowding those who are sitting there, properly socially distanced, following the rules. Perhaps a solution which would allow bars to remain open during Phase 2 is to require all bars to have a doorman during all of the operating hours. Yes, that would put an additional person on the payroll, but it’s less expensive than closing down!

You know, the thing about bars is, EVERYBODY who comes there thinks THEY are the VIP. They take the mindset of. “Yeah, there are rules, but I know people here, so…” There are no VIPs during a pandemic. If you go to a bar, put your mask on before you enter. Sit six feet away from people not in your group. If all the bar stools and all the tables are full, and you are told there is nowhere to seat you, leave. Don’t argue. Don’t put the employees in the very uncomfortable position of playing bad cop.

Restaurant news: The Tennessee Brewery announced yesterday that By The Brewery (@bythebrewery) will open in the brewery’s own tap room, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

This video is worth watching: A brawl over social distancing broke out at Little Rock restaurant Saltgrass Steak House.

Outdoor dining seating has been set up on the block of Main between Gayoso and Peabody Place.

These seats let you enjoy a meal outdoors from one of the many restaurants nearby. This will be especially good for patrons of Margie’s 901 ice cream whop, which does not have any seating.

Could the National Ornamental Metal Museum leave Downtown? The museum has received a recommendation as the new tenant for Rust Hall, the building in Overton Park recently vacated by Memphis College of Art.

Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog has lots of information about the Quintessential Summer Celebration on the river happening today through Sunday.

The city unveiled its Reimagining the Memphis Police Department website yesterday. You can file a complaint, learn about measures they have adopted, see demographic data, and apply to be on CLERB (Citizen Law Enforcement Review Board).

Flight restaurant issued an apology yesterday after accusations of racism.

This is a long article but it is very insightful: How dollar stores became magnets for crime and killing

Loflin Yard will start doing Fido Fridays this Friday 4-7 PM. Bring your dog and get 2 for 1 happy hour.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my duty to inform you that Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe has decided to revert to to-go only, citing rising COVID-19 numbers.

Celtic Woman – the 15th Anniversary Tour has been announced for the Orpheum Sunday, Aprul 25, 2021.

I hope none of you have a trip to he Big Apple planned, because Tennessee has landed on New York’s list of states requiring a 14-day isolation period if you travel there.

River Time Market & Deli will be closed this Friday-Sunday for the holiday. Monday they will reopen with new hours of 11 AM to 7 PM. These will be temporary hours Monday-Friday.

You know what I said about there being no VIPs during a pandemic? I take that back. Health care workers are the VIPs.

Back tomorrow with more news.