Restaurants & Bars | December 29, 2020 8:54 am

What Restaurants Has the NBA Approved for Team Dinners During the Pandemic?

Reading this list might make you hungry for both food and basketball

Red Rooster Overtown
A meal at Red Rooster Overtown.
Red Rooster Overtown

How do professional basketball players get on the same page? Often, that can come via a team dinner somewhere, helping a disparate group of players bond under a wide variety of circumstances. They can also give rise to absolutely amazing stories, such as the (sadly untrue) rumor that Kawhi Leonard once ate a dozen apples at one such dinner.

As one might expect, the pandemic has made matters a bit more complicated. As Kevin Arnovitz reports at ESPN, the NBA and the NBPA worked to come up with guidelines for restaurants that would both be in keeping with the CDC’s guidelines and match up with the needs of basketball teams. “The restaurant must have outdoor space or a secure private room that doesn’t share air space with the rest of the establishment,” Arnovitz writes. “Servers must wear masks and faceguards, maintain a distance of six feet and be in the same room with players and coaches only when absolutely necessary.” Secure entrances and exits are also a must.

The ESPN report contains a list of most of the approved restaurants, albeit subject to change and missing a few cities, including New York and Los Angeles. Among the takeaways from looking it over? NBA teams have some excellent dining options available to them during the pandemic.

Among the restaurants on the list are three from Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, James Beard Award-nominated chefs based in Memphis, as well as Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Overtown in Miami. Chicago’s acclaimed Peruvian restaurant Cabra Cevicheria is also on the list. It’s an impressive array of aesthetics and cuisines, from old-school steakhouses to up-and-coming innovators. It’s hard not to go through this list without feeling a slight rumbling in your stomach — and, perhaps, a desire to watch some basketball along the way.

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