More than a day to share the love with friends and family, those who dined out shared the love with local restaurants too.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Deneb Williams, the executive chef and CEO of Allora restaurant in East Sacramento, said Valentine’s Day was a much needed push for restaurants after a year of pandemic-related shut downs.

“So particularly with this year falling on a Sunday, it really is Valentine’s Day weekend,” Williams said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for restaurants to have a good amount of sales, which leads us into a slower springtime season. It’s crucial for restaurants’ financials to do well during Valentine’s.”

Williams had begun preparations for the holiday while stay-at-home orders were still in effect. He said he knew he’d be creating a takeout menu for the occasion and giving the “Allora experience” in takeout form.  

“After we had this designed, they opened up our patio business, and we said ‘well, hey, let’s do that too,'” Williams said. 

While creating several menus wasn’t an easy task, Williams said they had been fully booked and had sold out of to-go meals on Friday and Saturday. 

“This year has been unlike any other year in my career,” he said. 

With the restaurant industry being hit especially hard in a year of pandemic, a holiday that fell on a weekend where people can actually dine outside was a much-needed push. 

“A lot of us are small business owners and entrepreneurs,” he said. “This pandemic has been really, really tough on a lot of people and a lot of people are still just kind of hanging on.”

While buying gift cards and ordering take out were great Valentine’s Day treats, Williams said continued support, even after the holiday, will be what sustains local restaurants. 

“Just if you want your vibrant restaurant culture to be here when the pandemic is over, support us now and we’ll be there for you for years to come,” he said.

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