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Havre de Grace restaurants offer ‘Love & Grace Box’ takeout meals for Valentine’s Day

Four downtown Havre de Grace restaurants are teaming up to offer takeout meals in a box for Valentine’s Day, giving couples the chance to celebrate their love and support downtown restaurants in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Love & Grace Box event, a collaboration by Backfin Blues: Creole De Graw, Coakley’s Pub, Laurrapin Caters and MacGregor’s Restaurant, is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. A block of Franklin Street, between North Union Avenue and St. John Street by Coakley’s, will be closed and marked for one-way traffic, as the pub is the pickup point for the meals.

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People can peruse the three-course menu, which includes items from all four restaurants, and place their orders online via EventBrite. Orders must be placed by noon Friday, according to Stephanie Golumbek, co-owner of MacGregor’s and coordinator of the event.

Couples can enjoy an appetizer to share, two entrees and two desserts, plus a candle and commemorative holder, for $89. They also can select, for additional cost, various “add-ons,” such as bottles of champagne and wine, two Bailey’s Boozy Hot Cocoa Bombs with mugs and a two-person Date Night Paint Kit.

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People can drive up to the pickup spot in front of Coakley’s Saturday evening and get their boxed-up meals to go.

“A lot of people are just not comfortable in going out ... I feel like our main job is to bring a dining experience home to them,” Golumbek said.

The Valentine’s Day event is similar to the Taste of Grace restaurant takeout meal event which was part of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations — Taste of Grace was a collaboration involving Coakley’s, Laurrapin and MacGregor’s.

More than 130 boxed meals were sold for New Year’s Eve, according to Golumbek, who described the first collaboration as “unbelievable.” About a week later, the restaurant operators were discussing what they could do for Valentine’s Day, she recalled, noting that it is “quite a feat” for the establishments to be working together.

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“It’s amazing how something so horrible, like a pandemic, has brought us together,” Golumbek said.

She also praised officials with the City of Havre de Grace for their support of both dining events. The City Council voted unanimously during its Feb. 1 meeting in favor of organizers’ event application, which included a request to close the block of Franklin Street.

Councilman Jason Robertson gave “kudos to everyone involved,” noting that “our downtown folks are making a positive thing” for Valentine’s Day.

Restaurants in the city also are open for in-person dining this weekend, although Golumbek stressed that reservations are “strongly” recommended. Restaurants can be open for indoor dining at 50% of their capacity, according to current state regulations.

Golumbek cited some advantages to having indoor dining at half capacity, such as patrons receiving more individual attention at their tables.

“We’re able to give special attention to each table, because it’s not so busy and it’s much more personal, I find,” she said.

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