Sheila Lankford is excited to welcome diners back to McLanks Family Restaurant and Catering, albeit for a different dine-in experience.

The restaurant, located on Paris Road in Columbia, will be featured in a “revisit” episode of the Food Network show “Restaurant: Impossible.”

McLanks, which opened its doors in 2017, was first on the show in July 2019. “Restaurant: Impossible” host Robert Irvine gave the restaurant a makeover and prevented the business from shutting down, according to the episode’s description.

Now, the show will focus on McLanks’ efforts to reopen after closing down in February, Lankford said.

“It’ll be like a whole COVID-19 show,” she said.

As local eateries resort to curbside, take-out services or closing amid safety concerns and community backlash, Lankford and her Hollywood counsel plan on implementing several precautionary measures.

Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and temperature checks at the door will reinforce the “new normal.”

The restaurant closed dine-in service at the end of February, before mandatory health guidelines were in place, to protect staff and customers, Lankford said.

“One of my sons is really asthmatic, so he’s high risk,” she noted.

Although the restaurant still took delivery and curbside orders, McLanks has struggled.

“I mean, our business is gone,” Lankford said. “We haven’t had any, period. We wanted to reopen, we just weren’t sure, you know, exactly how to do that safely.”

McLanks will be open for private reservations Sunday, Lankford said, which will be filmed as part of the restaurant’s reopening. Reservations will be needed until Monday, and then McLanks will open to the public under Boone County guidelines Tuesday.

“I’m not mad at the county at all,” Lankford said. “I think it’s necessary to make sure that everyone stays healthy and safe. We don’t want to just reopen, you know? Look at the bars. It’s already reopened downtown and they’re already sending out notices.”

  • General assignment reporter, summer 2020. Studying investigative reporting. Reach me at adamsatryajackson@gmail.com, or (573) 356-7458

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