Big tent is dining solution for Pangaea and Gunther’s

It takes creative thought to figure out how to stay in business when no one can come inside and cozy up to pub food and a beer or to a hot fudge sundae. These specialties of Pangaea Bier Café and Gunther’s Ice Cream are local traditions.

The neighboring Franklin Boulevard restaurants came up with a creative solution. They put up a huge tent that stretches over Third Avenue between their two corners. They put in wooden picnic tables and asked everyone to wear a mask unless they were eating or drinking. And they asked people to limit tables to six – even though they could comfortably seat eight.

One sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-October, this place was hopping. The line for Gunther’s stretched about 75 feet from the front door. Everyone appeared to wear a mask and keep their distance as marked on the sidewalk.

The cooks at Pangaea kept their servers busy delivering sandwiches, salads and beers to tables with stand-up numbers indicating orders. A busboy diligently cleaned tables as customers left.

Families with small children, groups of women friends and senior couples made up the ethnically diverse crowd. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves while staying a safe distance apart.

As for the residents who live behind Gunther’s, the tent is a welcome addition. Trudy Bourgeois says,

“I love it. …We no longer struggle with parking.”

A 30-year resident of the neighborhood, she says all her children and grandchildren have worked at Gunther’s, and she’s eager to see Gunther’s and Pangaea stay in business.

For Pangaea, all orders must be placed either online or in person. No phone-in orders are taken. The café is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.

Gunther’s is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Gunther’s offers on-line, phone-in or in-person ordering.

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