Local restaurant owners looking to make the most of reopening during pandemic

QUINCY, Mass. — Some local restaurant owners are not letting a pandemic stand in the way of their dreams. They're moving forward with new business ventures, but it means adjusting the business model to serve customers in our "new normal."

It's only the first day but Boardwalk Pizza in Quincy is ready to adjust to the restaurant landscape.

"We already hit a little bit of a speed bump with the private gatherings of indoors, no more than 25," said Donato Frattaroli Jr., co-owner of Boardwalk Pizza.

So, it's offering more outdoor seating for its takeout and delivery pizza. Upstairs is private dining for small groups who want a service experience.

Boardwalk Pizza is a new addition along Marina Bay but the family behind the venture has deep roots in the restaurant community with, "Il Molo" in the North End.

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“I think the biggest concern is probably going backward. The last thing that any business owner or restauranteur, bar owner, whatever it may be, is the fear of going back to having to close down,” Frattaroli Jr. explained.

On the South Shore, Monday marks the grand opening of "Alba on 53."

“I would love to go back to the old days opening a restaurant and not worry about anything. Now we have to worry about and be more prepared for people’s safety and customers’ safety and our staff’s safety,” said Leo Keka, the restaurant’s owner.

The Hanover space allows for social distancing inside and out. Keka is no stranger to risks. He opened his first restaurant, "Alba," in Quincy, right after 9/11.

"One thing I know about America, it never stops. So, we're here to survive. We're here to make a living. We have a great staff. We support our staff. We support our families," Keka said.

This time around, setbacks included delivery delays and changes in construction schedules. Adjustments were made to meet safety requirements.

"With the changes in the openings that we're going forward with. The importance is on how to best utilize entire space so that we can A.) keep our staff employed, and B.) create year-round cash flow," Frattaroli Jr. said.

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Both owners are happy to be able to offer the community new jobs. At “Alba on 53,” there are nearly 50 new jobs right now. “Boardwalk Pizza” has hired at least 60 employees.

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