Even though Italian restaurant Il Gattopardo got the green light to reopen their doors for phase 2 outdoor dining, the owners are choosing to keep them closed.
“We are in Midtown Manhattan. All of the offices are still closed they're still working from home," said Gianfranco Sorrentino, managing partner of Il Gattopardo Group.
Sorrentino is also taking this time to reassess the way he does business. He decided to close his three restaurants on March 17. They furloughed 135 employees, and now, they are in the process of bringing them back and doing it safely.
“We are using this time to train our personnel, to invest in technology. We are relaunching our platforms for takeout and delivery as well as sanitation stations for our employees and guests," said Paula Sorrentino, director of operations for Il Gattopardo Group.
Il Gattopardo plans to to bring back takeout, outdoor dining and indoor dining at reduced capacity all in one shot by August 1.
The Sorrentinos say they are in nearly a $2 million hole from the shutdown, but they are confident they will make it through.
"This year is going to be tough. Next year is going to be better. 2022 is going to be, I hope, normal," Gianfranco Sorrentino said. "I know from the bottom of my heart that there is nothing that can substitute the pleasure of eating in a good, busy, noisy restaurant."
Then, there’s Kissaki Omakasse in the Bowery. The owner thinks outdoor dining is unrealistic for a quality dining experience there. He has a location in the Hamptons that's doing it, and he hopes to gain some tables from an open courtyard for his Midtown location, but he says it's not an option at the Bowery restaurant.
“We think outside seating is very limited. Ee first of all don't have an outside seating," said Garry Kanfer, managing partner of Kissaki Omakasse. "We're hoping in a couple of months, people are going to feel comfortable enjoying inside dining."
Kanfer says his business came out stronger from the pandemic. The outbreak forced his restaurant to start offering takeout in May, and he ended up making the same amount of money he was bringing in before as a sit-down restaurant.
“Going through what we're going through, we had to think outside of the box. With all the negativity, we were able to build a takeout model that proved itself," Kanfer said.