Dizzy Birds Rotisserie, which marked its first year in business on Friday, is among a number of local restaurants in Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach offering take out these days. Dina Mendros Photo

Dizzy Birds Rotisserie, the Main Street, Biddeford eatery that marked its first year in business on Friday, March 20, is continuing to spin their organic, free range chickens that customers say taste so good.

And while how you dine is different than it was here not that long ago, it is different everywhere in Maine these days, as Gov. Janet Mills has put a stop to dining inside restaurants. As of Monday, March 23, the dining-in prohibition was to last through March 31, but that could change. Mills’ Communications Director Scott Ogden said the executive order would  be reviewed prior to its expiration date for a determination of the need for revision and renewal.

So restaurants are now offering take out and curbside pickup; some have temporarily closed.

For some, the switch to take out is presenting challenges, others have it a bit easier.

Tom Peacock, of the family-owned Dizzy Birds Rotisserie, said the restaurant has always had a strong take out component.

“We designed the kitchen and our model for strong take out,” said Peacock a week ago.

In the short term, Dizzy Bird Rotisserie is focusing on its “friends and family” meal, that offers a whole chicken, three sides and corn bread for $39.99.

“It’s not fast food, but a healthy meal you can put on the table and the family can sit around,” he said.

As curbside pickup continues, the family restaurant plans to offer a broader range of meals.

There have been some quiet days at eateries in Biddeford lately, as there have been in many York County communities, since a prohibition on dining in was instituted by the state last week, but many restaurants, like Cowbell Burger, pictured here, are trying to pick up the pace by offering take out options. Tammy Wells Photo

Dizzy Birds is among a number of restaurants throughout Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach that are making the switch to take out and curbside pickup, serving customers and hoping to ride out the COVID-19 storm. Most are locally owned, though some chain restaurants are offering take out as well.

From Jimmy the Greeks in Old Orchard Beach, which is offering take out and delivery, to take out from Ricettas Pizza in Saco, Sublime Taco, or Cowbell Burger in Biddeford and more, there are an array of options. And those entities with liquor licenses may also offer beer and wine to go.

CIA Cafe owner Bill Dunnigan said while he’s had to cut his hours of operation — closing on Sundays for the first time and only open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. — his restaurant in Saco as well as another in South Portland, which his wife manages, are still open and they offer take-out and curbside delivery at both.

Dunnigan said to keep both customers and his reduced staff safe, he not only oversees the cleaning of the cafe personally but has stopped taking cash. He has new registers in which patrons insert their credit cards with no need for workers to touch the card. For customers “there is no contact in any way with employees,” he said.

The New England-based chain, Ninety-nine Restaurant is also offering take out meals. In a news release issued last week, owners said all 108 restaurants in New England would remain open for take out, and the restaurant was debuting an array of family-style meals.

Like Cia Cafe, Lucky Loggers Landing in Saco offers take out – in the latter case,  8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, but was to be closed Monday through Friday, according to a telephone message machine announcement.

At Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce + Industry, Executive Director Jim LaBelle said consumers can help many restaurants and retail shops by buying online, purchasing take out meals, or buying gift cards that can be used later, when dining-in is back on the table.

“Businesses dependent on daily consumer traffic will be first to experience pretty dramatic revenue shortfalls — restaurants, bars, and retail stores will probably be more challenged than others, though every business will feel the pain,” said LaBelle.

Consumers doing their best to support small business during the COVID-19 crisis will be helpful, he said.

The chamber is putting out information to members as soon as it arrives, said LaBelle. One of the biggest challenges is that the situation is fluid, he said, and so can change quickly.

“We have a range of businesses and some are working harder to get through this,” said LaBelle, citing Southern Maine Health Care and others. “And Maine manufacturers are producing products that are needed.”

The link to the chamber website for information on restaurants that are offering take out and delivery and more is https://biddefordsacochamber.org/.

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