TULSA, Okla. — As essential businesses start reopening in the Tulsa metro area under Phase 1 during the pandemic, owners are having to adjust to the new norm and follow some restrictions.
Eateries can't allow the same number of customers as before in order to comply with social distancing and avoid gatherings of 10 or more.
Miami Nights Restaurant and Lounge is one of the businesses that has reopened in phases. It is the only Cuban restaurant in Tulsa.
"It's going to be by call only, so you have to call in and make your reservation. We’ll still have orders to go," explains owner Frank Valdes.
He says they will open at 25% capacity with a few tables open before they re-evaluate the situation and are allowed to open at 100% capacity.
"This thing has hurt everybody. All we can do is follow directions and follow the law," says Valdes.
The restaurant was impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions when it had to shut down its dining area. Valdes estimates about 80 percent of sales were lost in the past month. He also had to lay off two employees.
Despite the setback, Valdes says he and his staff will continue to serve customers as long as they can.
"We are all going through a tough situation where we all have to get together," says Valdes, "Hopefully you know things will start getting back in track cause we all need it. Bills don’t stop coming.”
He opened the business in 2017 mainly as a lounge and night club. Every Thursday, the Tulsalseros Dance Company hosted free bachata and salsa dancing lessons. However, that also came to a halt after the coronavirus outbreak.
Before dancing returns on the dance floor, Valdes hopes customers will come in for a taste of his home country. They have Cuban staples, such as fried sweet plantains, Ropa Vieja, yuca and picadillo.
"We’re going to keep trying harder and harder to get better and better and better," says Valdes.
You can find Miami Nights Restaurant and Lounge on Facebook for their menu and new announcements. It is located on 6510 E. 21st St., Tulsa.
It is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
Miami Nights is one of several local small businesses we are featuring in our "We're Open Green Country" series.
Visit our website, for a full list of businesses. You may also fill out a submission form for a small business that is still operating and offering essential services.
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