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Many High-End Restaurants Offering Takeout For First Time, Allowing New Yorkers A Taste Without A Reservation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some of the city's most exclusive restaurants, once reserved for stars and regulars, are offering takeout for everyone, including health care heroes.

Unless you know someone who owns one of the 10 tables at Rao's, chances are your chances of getting a seat inside to eat are slim to none.

"It's all steadies and regulars," Rao's executive chef Dino Gatto said.

But now the restaurant has done something it's never done before -- takeout.

"It's all people that were never able to get in, always wanted to come in, it's a bucket list item," Gatto told CBS2's Alice Gainer.


Anyone can direct message the Rao's East Harlem Instagram account to get put on the waiting list.

"We've got people waiting a month for it," Gatto said.

Then you wait for a text letting you know you're up.

"It's been about nine or ten days, probably," Gramercy resident Ryan Yelle said.

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"I feel like when people do the 'Hamilton' ticket lottery," said Evan Brett, of Melville.

For $80 cash, you get dinner for two, and it's not just curious New Yorkers who are getting a taste of Rao's for the first time.

The restaurant donates food to a different hospital every Monday.

"We send out food for 120-125 people to the hospitals, and then on Sundays, we'll come in and we'll do full catering trays that we'll send to different fire departments and police departments in the area," Gatto said.

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Many Michelin star-rated restaurants are doing delivery now, too.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, known for its multi-state feast experience, is now offering to-go boxes featuring items from its suppliers.

"There's a bread box, which supports grain farmers, a meat box, a pork box, a vegetable box, fish box," Blue Hill co-owner David Barber said.

There's also a pastry box. Each keeps with the mission of educating people on eating regionally with literature inside.

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There are also special boxes you can donate to feed health care workers.

Each box is $150 and feeds about 10 people.

"We're doing about 200 a day now," Barber said.

It's a way to treat yourself and those who are putting it all on the line.

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