How D.C. bars and restaurants are handling a bizarre Inauguration Day

armed national guard members getting coffee
Members of Pennsylvania 112th Infantry Regiment National Guard are served coffee in Washington, DC.
Photo: Joe Raedle / Staff (Getty Images)

After the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, the mood of the United States changed, and all eyes were squarely set on Washington D.C. It was a tragic, historical, life-altering day for many, and it set an otherworldly tone for what would eventually become today: the day Joe Biden is sworn in as president.

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During inaugurations of years past, D.C. would normally expect throngs upon throngs of tourists, donned in America-themed clothes, but right now, those on the street are wearing camouflage and body armor. COVID-19 was already going to change the atmosphere of the inauguration, but security measures now dictate the need for a different kind of protection. Eater goes into detail on what restaurant owners are doing for a strange version of Inauguration Day.

Many stores and restaurants in the heavily secured areas have closed for the day, because it only made sense that way. There are still deals on takeout, and there are politically themed cocktail kits to go, too. And for those still open, along with coronavirus restrictions, the restaurants need extra security and emergency escape plans should things go south quickly.

Micheline Mendelsohn Lund, owner of We the Pizza (awesome name), thought of the reasons why she might need to close for the day. Between the military presence and all the locked-down streets, perhaps it would just be the easier thing to do. But after a conversation with fellow restaurant owner Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen, she decided to keep We the Pizza open anyway. “The rest of the country and the rest of the world looks at us as a government city. But we are a community,” Mendelsohn Lund said. “There are livelihoods here and businesses here.”

Other restaurants have their own strategies on how to keep open safely while keeping employees secure, and it’s quite a juggling act. You can take a look into the many perspectives on Eater, and it’s worth reading to see what people are going through on the ground level in D.C. right now. Hopefully better days are ahead.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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