With the recent news that the South Central region (Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Yakima counties) had been moved to Phase 2 of Governor Inslee's Healthy Washington plan, my family decided to do something we hadn't done in a long time.

I had mentioned in passing to my wife that I had missed Casa Mia. I hadn't been there since before the pandemic began. They're not on a delivery service so when we were in Phase 1, customers had to pick their order up. Now that I've typed that out, I've realized how incredibly lazy I can be.

Anyways, my wife surprised me and told me to get a nice jacket because we were going out to eat as a family. I got ready and we piled into the car and set a course for the Casa Mia on Kennewick Avenue. We put our masks on, stood behind the "Please Wait to Be Seated" sign, making sure to give other patrons six feet of space.

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Casa Mia isn't a large restaurant, so a limited amount of tables were available but we were seated pretty quickly. We were in a booth and the table behind us was shielded by a glass barrier installed just behind my head. We kept our masks on as a courtesy until the server had brought us our drinks. Honestly, the hardest part about dining in these conditions was deciding what we wanted to eat. Casa Mia has the award-winning pizzas but they also have the all-you-can-eat spaghetti that's been slow-cooked all day. We ordered both, naturally.

I took the time to soak it all in and my wife asked my daughter if she remembered eating in a restaurant before. Since she's just about 3-years-old, this way of life is all she really knows or remembers. She hasn't had a real birthday party since her first birthday. We do have plans to do something nice for her third birthday in a couple of weeks now that the region has opened up a bit. But I had never really stopped to think about how little kids may be handling or interpreting life during the pandemic.

I had a great experience going out to eat and it wasn't too different than it was back in 2019. I do recommend calling ahead if you're making plans for dinner because restaurants could hit that 25% capacity pretty quickly.

Be safe and eat local!

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