ATLANTA - Nearly two years of planning all put on hold for a new Italian restaurant, Grana. The business was about to open its doors, but had to lay off 90% of its workers because of the coronavirus.
"It's a shame, I mean, nobody was ready for this," said Pasquale Pascarella, the chef and part-owner of Grana.
The restaurant never had its grand opening, but is now trying to stay afloat with a new takeout menu for the community to try.
"The struggles are: you're doing nowhere near the business that you're supposed to be doing," said Pascarella. "It's stressful because we hired 100 plus employees to start and now 90% of them are gone."
Customers are trickling in.
"We thought what a bad time to open with all this going on but we wanted to be supportive," said customer Court Crusenberry.
The chef said he worries not enough people know about this new spot, serving up comforting pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches. The restaurant also sells take-home pasta making kits if you want to cook yourself.
"That's the most heart-wrenching part. People think you own a restaurant you make a million dollars a year, but it doesn't work like that," Pascarella explained. "We work on very small margins compared to everybody else, and then on top of it, we have families, so what happens when I can't pay my mortgage?"
Despite the challenges ahead, neighbors said they know they'll be back one day to enjoy the restaurant's full grand opening.
"I think it'll be fun to come out and sit on the roof and have some wine and some good Italian food," said Crusenberry. "We wish them great success."
Want to place an order for pick up? Call (404) 231-9000 and for the restaurant's menu, click here.
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