Takeout was the closest thing we had to eating at our favorite restaurants for a while. Where was the first place you went when you were able to dine in again? Was it the place a moment turned into a memory? Maybe you celebrated a milestone there with family or friends. How about that corner table where weekly trivia night was battled out?
From birthdays and anniversaries to graduations and promotions, our loyalty to these restaurants reaches far beyond the food.
Read on for the stories behind the four #RestaurantChallenge weekly winners, nominated by the restaurants’ biggest fans and guests.
Costela Brazilian Steakhouse | Bay City, Michigan
Costela is one of, if not, the most popular restaurants in Bay City.
The Michigan restaurant is a traditional Brazilian-style churrascaria, where gauchos come tableside and carve slow-roasted meats onto your plate. Tight lockdowns and restrictions kept their dining rooms closed for the better part of a year.
Just beginning to have guests inside again, their approach to Brazilian cuisine has shifted.
Guests experience a more traditional steakhouse-type atmosphere as restrictions prevent gauchos from going from table to table. The owners and servers look forward to the day they can bring back the unique experience Costela provides the community and those who stop in Bay City.
Until then, they are grateful for their loyal supporters and the big tip from the brand.
Larder | Cleveland, Ohio
Opened in 2019, Larder pays homage to the old-time delicatessen, with scratch-made everything and old-time Jewish and Hungarian dishes.
The brainchild of partner trio Kenny Scott and Jeremy and Allie Umansky, Larder has received two James Beard nominations in the first two years of business, and named “The Best Deli in America” by Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.
Larder’s innovative use of the koji mold in all aspects of business draws the attention of food influencers everywhere.
Because the deli only has 10 seats, Larder has always relied heavily on takeout. During the heaviest days, staff was reduced to just the three partners but has since been able to regrow to the full staffing list.
The busy team appreciated the brand’s tip as they work to continue serving the Cleveland community.
Read more of Larder’s story here.
Shem Creek Crab House | Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Described as the place one would go for Lowcountry boils, great views and cold beer, Shem Creek Crab House serves the Charleston area. This casual, coastal restaurant overlooks the water on Shem Creek and has been a local favorite for years.
Shem Creek Crab House was recently purchased by Charleston Crab House group after the prior owners retired.
With a few investments on the property, the restaurant is prepared for a busy summer. Staff are excited to see folks in the seats again and were grateful for the surprise tip.
Va de Vi Bistro | Walnut Creek, California
Va de Vi Bistro is helmed by long-time Certified Angus Beef ® brand chef partner Mike Fischetti, who worked for years in Miami as Cindy Hutson’s right-hand man.
He moved to California in 2019 and took over this restaurant, focused on small plates and catering to a high-end shopping clientele.
Va de Vi, like many restaurants in California, spent months shuttered and was forced to put a focus on carryout and outdoor dining, as weather permitted. Outdoor dining and a new rooftop space help to generate revenue, as is Fischetti’s penchant for spinning alternative cuts into gold.