Despite continued restrictions on dining, downtown Frederick restaurants and florists are expecting a busy weekend as couples look to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Laura Dubrule, the general manager of the Wine Kitchen on the Creek, said reservations have been flooding in, and tables are practically booked up. But there may still be some hope for the last-minute planner.
“It will be like winning a mini lottery if they call at the right moment [for a reservation]. There’s no harm in trying, that’s what I always say ... things change. We’re never mad to hear from people, but if they want to try and be flexible and maybe call last-minute, we’re going to know more as it happens, in the moment,” she said.
The restaurant is offering a few special items on its a la carte menu for the weekend such as a shrimp cocktail, lamb saddle and a lobster tail stuffed with monkfish. Diners can also choose to enjoy a three-course pre-fixe menu for one flat price of $68.
The Wine Kitchen, like plenty of other eateries, have also catered to the carry-out trend of the pandemic this year and received orders for more than two dozen Valentine’s Day take-home dinner kits, Dubrule said. Customers will pick up the kits on Saturday, each of which comes with a beef Wellington for two, shrimp cocktail, Hubbard pumpkin risotto, local salad, Brussels sprouts and a heart-shaped chocolate brownie.
Take-home meals seem to be the popular option this year for restaurants in order to cater to as many customers as possible. Isabella’s Taverna and Tapas Bar will be offering two different carry-out specials throughout the weekend. One is a simple, three-course offering for $45 and the other is five courses for $95 and includes a bottle of wine, said general manager Brian Klitch. Orders can be placed online or by calling the restaurant.
“We are anticipating a busier weekend than we’ve had in a while, so it’s better to place orders in advance if you want to make sure you get it at the time that you want it. But we will always accept orders ... the order time may just get backed up if you wait until the last minute,” he said.
If dining in, Isabella’s highly recommends reservations.
The popular downtown vegan eatery Hippy Chick Hummus is offering a different take on the typical Valentine’s Day specials with a “Self-Love Starter Pack Meal Deal.” Not only will customers get their choice of entrée and draft kombucha, but they will also get a dark chocolate cashew mousse for dessert and the choice of one of three fitness passes.
Diners will be able to get two spin classes at LifeCycle, two yoga classes at Yogamour or a 30-minute consultation with Frederick-based personal trainer Barbie Markey.
Erika Brown, owner of Hippy Chick Hummus, said she wanted to partner with local businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.
“I just thought about the industries that are affected the most financially, which is the food industry and the fitness industry, especially in-person fitness studios, so I wanted to work with local businesses to kind of stand together and offer really an unbeatable deal to people and encourage them to safely participate in group fitness classes again,” she said.
The special is only $29 and will last through the end of the month. Hippy Chick is also offering a few special menu items for the Valentine’s Day weekend, including a lentil sub and a treat box.
Florists around the county have also been busy leading up to the holiday. Gwen Austin, manager of Freesia and Vine FAV Flowers on West Patrick Street, said the shop has received so many orders that they had to stop offering delivery due to overbooking.
Austin added that Freesia and Vine is able to offer more than just typical rose or carnation arrangements.
“We offer some pretty unusual flower arrangements...we’re throwing in things that people can’t pronounce,” she said.
Just make sure you don’t wait until the last minute, Austin said. If potential customers want flower arrangements before Sunday, they will have to pick them up from the store.