The pandemic has made so many regular, everyday pleasures either difficult or impossible for so many families. But instead of wallowing in all they had lost, one family decided to get seriously inventive and created a restaurant booth in their kitchen so they could still make memories when they "go out for dinner." The idea is not only completely gorgeous, but also a clever solution to making meals at home feel like a little event.
Lucy Small — a mom of two girls, 2-year-old Indiana and 1-year-old Autumn — has always loved eating at restaurants with her family. "Our first daughter spent a lot of her childhood in booths, looking out the window, trying new food, and sharing a meal with all of our focus on each other. It was really nice," Small tells Romper.
When she and her husband welcomed a second daughter and moved to the countryside in March 2020, which Small says was "not a COVID move" as they had bought land to build a house back in 2019, their restaurant hang-outs became a thing of the past. So they built themselves a home on 30 acres in a small town of fewer than 300 people in the mountains in Georgia, which changed their dining options considerably.
"We know that we're never going to be able to walk over to a bunch of food options, partly because of COVID but also partly because of our decision to move," says Small. So they decided to bring the restaurant experience to their kitchen instead. "We wanted to create the same kind of atmosphere where both girls can hang out and we can eat together as a family."
Back in January, Small shared photos of their not-yet-finished project and of course people loved it. "Fantastic idea!" one person commented on Twitter, while another said, "Well done. Tuna melt to stay."
The restaurant industry across the country has suffered mightily throughout the pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association, approximately 110,000 have closed their doors due to COVID-19. It's a sad time for people who work in the industry, and a sad time for people who miss the specific kind of camaraderie that happens when you eat at a restaurant. Especially families with small kids, including the Smalls. "While my husband and I can go out sometimes wearing masks, the kids don't keep masks on so they haven't been out in public in a long while," the mom of two tells Romper.
As both she and her husband work from home, they are able to adjust to their new lives. Not just because of the pandemic but also because they have moved to the countryside. What better way to reclaim some of those good restaurant vibes than to slide into a restaurant booth in your own kitchen, eat a little meal together, and make some new memories? Genius.