When restaurants were ordered to go curb-side to discourage gatherings during the outbreak, I was crushed to hear that a Portage favorite, Latitude 42 (that had recently opened a second location in Oshtemo), had decided to be closed in the meantime. As Stay Home Stay Safe extended further and further, I began to wonder if they would ever be able to reopen. I mean tacos, you guys. Delicious, delicious tacos. Oh, and they employ really friendly people, have a fabulously relaxed atmosphere, and some of the best local beers on tap. (And tacos.) So you must know how chuffed I was to see an announcement on Latitude 42's Facebook page saying, quote, "We will be opening our Oshtemo location beginning Thursday, May 21st... followed by the opening of our Portage store on Thursday, May 28th." Squee.

I reached out to Latitude 42 President Brad Bishop to get the scoop on just how much they've had to revamp their operation in order to reopen and what's new.

"We have implemented additional sanitation and cleaning procedures throughout our facilities to keep our staff and guests safe," Bishop began. "We are requiring all of our team members to wear masks, gloves and hats in addition to checking temperatures before entering the building."

The team at Latitude 42 had to completely restructure their business model and switch from a dine-in focus to offering three ways to bring their menu home; take-out through their vestibules, curbside straight to your car (just call when you arrive in the parking lot to have your order brought out to you), and delivery.

"Well of course there is going to be some local L42 classics, but we also have some new items to showcase including L42 Take & Bakes you can take home and pop them in the oven on your own time-frame." Bishop continued, "We have made some really cool build your own libations kits with approximately enough supplies to build 8 cocktails. So we are really excited to see how that plays.

"We are just so grateful for the out pouring of good energy and support that we have received from both our loyal Oshtemo and Portage patrons. We're excited to get back to business."

It's more important than ever that we help our neighbors succeed by supporting our local businesses. Dining out, either through curbside or delivery, keeps our friends employed and helps to ensure that your favorite restaurants will be gathering places once again. Cheers to Brad Bishop and the L42 crew. Welcome back and good luck!