COVID CHRONICLES… Covid-19 strikes again with Zeph’s One Stop (1366 South Main St., Salinas) closing soon and permanently. After 20 years in business, Zeph’s is going out with a 20-percent-off wine, beer and liquor retirement sale.

BRUNCH BUNCH… Even during the pandemic (and, now, with wildfires sending air quality into the toilet) Rio Grill in Carmel is finding more ways to help guests enjoy a good brunch. The patio is open for reservations (they require a card on file for groups of four or more). From 1-4pm Sunday, Aug. 30, musician and Mexican singer Johan Sotelo will perform. Get an extra boost of good karma by ordering takeout and knowing that 10 percent of the takeout proceeds will go to the Food Bank for Monterey County through Sept. 31. Wash it down with a take-home mimosa kit.

THE BIG RETURN… The Haute Enchilada Cafe (at 7902 Moss Landing Road in Moss Landing) is set to reopen for takeout on Tuesday, Sept. 2 with outdoor seating. As always, their menu will feature foods from across the globe such as paella, Peruvian ceviche, and Mexican seafood enchiladas. Reservations will be required.

EAT FOR GOOD… As restaurants struggle through the pandemic, many are still stepping up to help those affected by the River Fire, Carmel Fire and Dolan Fire all currently burning in Monterey County. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but check out the social media feeds of Stonies Taphouse (1366 S. Main St., Salinas), now offering free meals for firefighters, and Casas de Humo Barbecue, bringing a burger pop-up to Guadalajara Bakery (699 E. Market St., Salinas) on Sunday, Aug. 30, with $2 from every burger sold going to gift cards for firefighters. At Paper Wing Theatre & Supper Club (711 Cannery Row, Monterey) supper boxes to-go can be had on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for anyone who’s been evacuated.

GRAND OPENING… The long-awaited Elroy’s Fine Foods (15 Soledad Drive, Monterey) opened Saturday, Aug. 22, to a steady flow of people checking out the bright yellow high-end digs of the former Monte Vista Market. Shoppers were greeted by generous piles of organic produce, a sleek bulk goods bar with an employee doling out nuts and grains, shelves full of unique natural ingredients and cases of prepared foods.

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