One Bourbon, one Scotch, one beer: How restaurants are using booze to stay afloat

Governor Greg Abbott approved alcohol sales to-go earlier this week

HOUSTON – “And above all else, love whiskey,”

That’s the sign that hangs above popular restaurant Bosscat Kitchen & Libations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are relying on whiskey and other alcohol sales to get them through this time.

“Houstonians like to drink, Texans like to drink in general,” said Bosscat Kitchen owner John Reed.

Governor Greg Abbott approved restaurants to serve alcohol with to-go orders this week.

Many restaurants like Bosscat Kitchen jumped on the opportunity.

Reed said many singles and young people live in the River Oaks area and providing to-go alcohol drinks was a plus for his businesses.

“It was a big sigh of relief for us. It gave us another bullet in the gun to shoot, and really strengthened our offering,” he said.

Bosscat Kitchen’s Whiskey room is serving as an impromptu office, where the staff brainstorms ideas to help them stay afloat.

“It gave us an opportunity to really develop a more comprehensive solution for them. So they can come in, get food for one, food for four, get a couple bottles of alcohol, maybe some wine, and we’re working on a cocktail program right now.”

Reed says the cocktails will be served in Mason jars that you can take to your home.

The response has been positive.

“It’s huge, it’s obviously a big part of young people’s social lives,” said to-go customer Ekop Akpan. “The more they can unwind with wine, Titos and soda, or whatever it is... I think that’s going to help keep some sanity."

Alcohol sales are also helping with jobs. More to-go orders means more workers have something to do.

“People are so gracious,” said Reed. “I’ve seen people that have come in just to support us, and I know they don’t have to.”

Reed said this experience has reminded him the importance of supporting local businesses.

“This makes people more aware of the guy on the corner, maybe spending a little more money with him,” he said.