Royal Oak restaurant keeping spirits up with 'ghost tables' in dining room

Posted at 8:13 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 08:13:42-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Trattoria Pizzeria da Luigi in Royal Oak is preparing to re-open for in-house seating with spooky guests in mind.

After enduring nearly three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Luigi Cutraro is itching to bring a playful spirit back into the lives of his patrons, and he's summoned a team of ghosts to help him do the job.

To keep diners safely socially distanced, the dining room features "guest seating" and "ghost seating."

“Our aim is to go above and beyond to keep our diners safe,” Cutraro says. “But we wanted to do it in a way that was really playful so they can relax and enjoy their dining experience.”

Social-distancing restrictions require restaurants to limit their seating to 50 percent occupancy and no less than six feet between occupied tables.

Cutraro felt eliminating half of the room’s tables would make the room look desolate. Instead, he opted to fill the unused spaces with ghosts. Friendly ghosts.

Between every “guest table” is a “ghost table.” Each “ghost table” designates an area that cannot be occupied by guests, thereby providing more than the requisite six feet of safe social distance between “guest tables.”

During service, all staff will wear masks and disposable gloves, which will be replaced after each serving. Tables will be kept completely clear between seating; salt and pepper will be brought by request, and items such as single-use menus, disposable napkins, and butcher-paper coverings over the tablecloths are all geared to minimize the risk of contamination.

All these precautions and the “ghost tables” are all geared toward a single aim, Cutraro says: To be able to provide joy to his patrons.

“After what people have been through the last few months, we wanted to create an evening for our guests that was memorable, fun and relaxing,” Cutraro says. “They need it, they deserve it.”

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