With existing restaurants already in major existential and financial struggles, the thought of planning a new restaurant right now feels a bit decadent and scary. And thus it's no surprise that State Bird Provisions chef-owners Stuart Brioza and Nichole Krasinski aren't going to move forward with some of the expansion plans they announced around the new year. And they just had to close their two existing restaurants due to a possible COVID exposure.

"This is truly a sign of our times and we appreciate your understanding and support in advance," said the team in an Instagram post last week announcing the temporary closure of State Bird and The Progress next door. Though the "potential" virus exposure was never confirmed, they said the restaurants were closing as "proactive measures out of an abundance of caution for our team." Both restaurants have been doing takeout service for several months, and outdoor dining for the last month, under the moniker Provisions x State Bird.

The plan is to reopen this weekend, and the entire staff has already received negative tests, as Eater reports.

"It was an isolated incident, and we handled it with proactive precautionary measures,” Brioza tells Eater. “The entire team got tested, and we got the results within 36 hours. We did not want any uncertainty, so we all got tested, all at the same time."

Other restaurants including Little Chihuahua and Buckeye Roadhouse have also recently had temporary closures for the same reason, and have reopened.

Back in December, the James Beard Award-winning pair of Krasinski and Brioza announced an as-yet-unnamed vegetarian concept that was headed to a space at 799 Haight Street. Now, as Eater has it, that plan is being scrapped since construction had never started on it, and a second expansion plan is also a bit delayed.

That second plan is for something called The Anchovy Bar, going into the former Fat Angel space around the corner from State Bird on O'Farrell. Brioza tells Eater that the plan is to open the fish-focused spot this fall, though the menu may be changing from its original concept.

It should be noted that The Progress is serving a very gourmet hot dog on the to-go menu that shouldn't be missed when it reopens this weekend — it's called The Prog Dog, and it's a smoked pork sausage topped with kimchi, bonito-rosemary aioli, and "shallot crunch."

Photo: StateBird/Instagram