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Food Writer’s Diary
Shaun Garcia of Soby's sits down with Bret Thorn to talk about cooking during the coronavirus.

Shaun Garcia adapts to coronavirus by offering comfort food to go from Soby’s

The executive chef has created family meals to give customers what they crave

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Shaun Garcia has been executive chef of Soby’s New South Cuisine in Greenville, S.C., for more than a decade, but for the past week-and-a-half he, like many chefs across the country, has changed his job from overseeing meals in a bustling dining room to packing food to go.

He’s streamlined the menu, ditching most of the fried items that don’t travel well, although he’s still offering his fried chicken, which has long been a crowd-pleaser. That’s part of one of several family meals that Garcia has introduced for curbside pickup. Others family meals are centered around crab cakes, shrimp & grits and braised beef short ribs — comfort foods that Garcia says his customers are craving these days.

Although he had to lay off some staff, Garcia has managed to retain some servers, changing their jobs from working in dining rooms to delivering food to people’s homes. That way, those servers can continue to nurture their relationships with their customers.  

Soby’s is the flagship restaurant of Carl Sobocinski’s Table 301 Group, which also includes The Lazy Goat, Nose Dive, Passerelle, Southern Pressed Juicery, and Jianna, as well as a food truck called Highway 301 and a catering arm, all in Greenville.

Although Garcia misses having a dining room, he says he’s glad he can still provide food for his community.

“Every order and every ticket that comes in, we’re just happy that we can be part of someone’s dining experience,” he said.  

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary


TAGS: Coronavirus
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