Trying to remember times where we would dine-in at a restaurant, “normally,” feels like a lifetime away. One of the biggest shifts from COVID came from the way we dine.

Eating in a crowded restaurant, not wearing a mask, throwing a dinner party—all sound like something very bizarre to us now.

There are many things that COVID has changed for us in our day to day lives. The way we choose to dine is one of the biggest changes. Here are three ways that COVID has changed the way we dine today.

  1. We rekindled our relationship with the kitchen

With lockdowns happening, restaurants closing, and fears of leaving your home due to the virus: we started cooking again. From famous viral TikTok’s of banana bread recipes and sourdough bread recipes to try, to many restaurants giving recipes of their own personal foods out. We all learned together during this pandemic, of what we truly can do in the kitchen.

2. We brought back the picnic

When we started to get sick of being inside, we went outside. 2020 brought back the infamous picnic. Outdoor dining became everything during this pandemic. Restaurants were forced to launch a new way of dining—eating outdoors. Many restaurants even created picnic-like take-out options that were served to-go, but ready to eat and drink.

3. We were provided with options

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like 2020 was a year full of options. At first glance, it might seem like all of our options were taken away. But when we really think about it, look at how creative we all became. Restaurants and customers alike. We were forced to innovate the way we dine. Restaurants tried every way they could think of to get diners in and customers tried every way they could to be loyal to neighborhood and local dining. The best thing about these options, is that many of them will stick around.

Dining may never be the same and truly, that is okay. The way the world has come together to create a new look on how we eat, both at home and dining out, is amazing. This is only the beginning, too. We are still learning and this very well could be the most innovative year for the restaurant industry and food industry all together.

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We are still, unfortunately, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and it is still affecting the way we go about daily life. The pandemic is undoubtably affecting how we gather with friends and loved ones, even colleges and neighbors. Hosting evens has become terribly difficult with following CDC recommended guidelines and trying to keep everyone safe and healthy. Private events and private dining both now have new looks following COVID-19, and we feel your struggle! We have put together 5 ways to private dine safely while still amidst these unprecedented times:

1. Check, please! Be sure to research your desired restaurant’s website & social media for their response to COVID-19 and what safety precautions they are taking.

When doing your research, if the website or social media neglects talking about COVID-19 or what they have been doing to continue operating safely—that is probably not a good sign. We suggest taking your private dining experience somewhere that has your health and safety as their number one priority!


Check, please! Round 2: Research the restaurant’s different options for private dining experiences. Which style best fits your event and your desired privacy.

If your desired restaurant offers private dining during COVID-19, they will most likely have a section about it on their website/social media. Do some research about which private dining experience best fits what you are looking for, how many guests you are able to accommodate, food and beverage minimum or not, how you and your guests will be able to practice safe COVID-19 practices.


Make the call: Call your desired restaurant and ask your questions! It is good to get every detail out on the table before committing to your private dining experience.

If you have questions or concerns, it is a good idea to call and speak to someone who overseas of the private dining/private events at the restaurant to get the answers you are looking for. Communication is key during the pandemic and over communicating is better than under communicating!


Time to dine! When it comes time to dine, make sure that all of your guests who are attending are aware of the rules and safety precautions to have a successful private dining experience. When it comes to larger groups, sometimes it can be hard to get everyone on the same page—communicate clearly how the private dining event will go to all of your guests. Make sure everyone is aware of the precautions taken, the mask requirements/when not required, social distance requirements when moving about the restaurants and near other guests. Relaying the message before dining will make the experience go much smoother!

5. Now, enjoy! You have done your research, communicated with the restaurant, communicated with guests, and now it is time to enjoy your safe private dining experience! It is such a relief having done all the hard, tedious work—to now enjoy a beautiful night of good food and good company! A private dining experience is perfect for practicing social distancing with an intimate group of people, taking the proper COVID-19 precautions, while having a team of dedicated restaurant staff to accommodate to your group’s needs! A stress free, safe private dining experience!

At LiLLiE'S we are happy to provide you with these tips and tricks to make your next private dining experience a bit easier during these crazy times. We want you to know that if you are looking to book a private dining experience in the D.C. area, we are now accepting private dining reservations! You can find more information on our website: or give us a call at: 202-258-7319 and we are happy to answer all and any questions you have. We look forward to seeing you and your guests at your next private dining experience with LiLLiES!

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