Gene McCarthy's in Buffalo closes kitchen after staff member tested positive for COVID-19, intends to keep bar open

Posted at 12:42 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 12:42:27-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Gene McCarthy's, on Hamburg Street in Buffalo's Old First Ward, is closing its kitchen after a kitchen staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

All other members of the kitchen staff will be tested while the kitchen is shut down.

The bar, which is also the site of Old First Ward Brewing Co., intends to stay open by serving "a substantial bag of chips" to patrons.

In July, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced bars and restaurants could only serve alcohol to customers who also ordered food. The State Liquor Authority added guidance that the food must "ensure that patrons are enjoying a sit-down dining experience among a small group with. drinks, i.e. a meal."

The SLA specifically states "a bag of chips" does not fulfill the requirement for bars and restaurants.

However, there are different rules for breweries that serve their products on-site-- as is the case with Old First Ward Brewing Co. According to the SLA, if a "manufacturer with on premises privileges" does not have a separate license as a tavern or restaurant, it can serve "finger foods like chips, cheese and crackers, or pretzels."

Gene McCarthy's owners say on social media that the kitchen shutdown is temporary. It's unclear when they plan to reopen the kitchen.