South Park restaurant transforms into grocer amid coronavirus closures

Posted at 4:35 PM, Mar 19, 2020

SAN DIEGO — With in-restaurant dining now outlawed amid the Coronavirus outbreak, a South Park neighborhood bistro has transformed itself into a local grocer where shoppers can get produce, milk, eggs, and - yes - toilet paper.

Ownership at Eclipse Chocolate made the move this week to help the business get through a time when they can't carry out the core of their business - in house dining.

"We were already selling our own chocolate, we're also selling local food brands, we do that all the time, so really it was just a matter of rearranging our own furniture," said Daniel Youngren, a co-owner of the eatery.

Restaurants across San Diego County have been hit hard due to the restrictions, with many either shutting down or offering discounts for takeout. More than 126,000 San Diegans work in the industry, which has seen employees either lose their jobs or have their hours cut.

Youngren says Eclipse Chocolate is no exception, with a number of its 20 employees seeing fewer hours and applying for unemployment assistance. Still, he says this allows the restaurant to make up at least a portion of the revenue lost and keep some workers busy, while also fulfilling its mission of getting food to people who are hungry.

On Thursday, Eclipse Chocolate had used the tables from its dining room to offer apples, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, to name a few. It also was getting a delivery of milk, eggs, butter, and toilet paper.

"We do it all," Youngren said. "Our rent is very expensive, we designed this business, this child of ours to work in a pretty specific way. It is meant to be really adaptable."