Town of Clay restaurant struggling to stay open due to pandemic

Local News

TOWN OF CLAY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The coronavirus pandemic is crushing many small businesses, even as restrictions loosen up. Locally and family-owned restaurants are hit especially hard.

“We’re just trying to figure out a way to survive,” said Bill LaFluer, co-owner of Nick and Angelo’s Ristorante in the Town of Clay. They’ve been closed since mid-March. For a while, they were offering takeout four days a week, but even that was too much.

“Now with restaurants being open for in-house dining, the takeout business has gone backward,” said LaFluer. He and his family are trying to make enough money to at least pay the restaurant’s taxes but opening their dining room isn’t even something they can afford.

“At 50 percent we’re not going to be able to keep our doors open,” he said.

“Then you add all the other additional costs for PPE,” said Nicole Valentino, one of the managers.

LaFluer tells NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla, they don’t have plans to add any outdoor seating to the parking area so they’re relying heavily on takeout Thursdays through Saturdays. Half of their business, which is catering, has also been wiped out.

“I can’t tell you how many graduation parties we lost,” he said.

They had to give back a number of deposits for canceled events they were supposed to cater. No graduations, no weddings, no christenings, and the list goes on.

“We’re looking at it from a financial standpoint, whether it’s worth it or not to keep trying to do it,” said LaFluer. It’s the grim reality for most small businesses. Nick and Angelo’s can open the bar but with state guidelines, only 25 people can pull up a chair. Because of the cost to operate the bar, it’s only open for a few hours, three days a week.

With the dining room closed, they’re riding out on takeout and the bar until September, hoping by then, they might be able to start seating customers again.

“We’re not gonna give up, we’re gonna try,” said LaFluer.

The family-owned business will be closed this weekend for the holiday. Hours will resume on Thursday, July 9 through Saturday, July 11 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with takeout.

The bar will be open those days from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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