Governor’s business shutdown hurts local restaurants


Kevin Bluffestone

Many restaurants are trying to find new ways to stay open. Crostatas on Bishop Road has now opened up a new patio area to allow customers to come in and dine.

Kevin Bluffestone, Staff Writer

On March 15, Gov. Mike Dewine ordered that all restaurants close their doors for dine-in, and since then, businesses haven’t been the same.

Many small restaurants have taken a hit during these unprecedented times. Alyssa Ladner, a manager at Smokin Q’s BBQ in Mayfield Village, said, “It’s greatly reduced our sales. We are doing about a fifth of the sales that we normally would do.”

Dominic Argie, a manager at Crostatas in Highland Heights, noted that his restaurant is a completely different environment. He said, “From day-to-day operations, to priorities, everything has changed. It’s like a different world.”

Although Gov. DeWine has allowed patio dining to resume, Argie thinks state officials struggled to communicate a clear opening plan with restaurant owners and managers since the pandemic began.  Argie said in early May, “Every day, the dates change so there is a lot of uncertainty. It’s scary so to speak.”

The owner of Gaetano’s, Mike Missale, is worried about the future of his Mayfield Heights business.  He said, “My biggest concern was the people that work here and to not be able to have everyone working.”

There’s one thing that all managers and owners say they miss: the customers.  Some of these restaurants have been open for decades and are very familiar with their community. 

It is hard for some places to tell how long it will take for these restaurants to recover the lost profits. Rick Rhein, the owner of Mama Roberto’s in Mentor, said, “I can’t see us opening our dining room until after Labor Day, simply because it’s just going to be hard to do. I could see a lot of the restaurant’s not reopening period.”

Argie hopes his restaurant is in the process of recovering and even though his patio opened last Friday, “it’s just going to take awhile,” he said.