RICHMOND, Va. -- A neighborhood restaurant opened its doors in the midst of the coronavirus and the community came to its aid. Antoinette Essa chatted with Anthony’s on the Hill owner Michael Calogerakis and his daughter Madison about operating during the coronavirus crisis.
We're just serving things like pizza and salads. We serve wings and fries, subs and sandwiches. We do our meatballs and we do a Detroit-style pizza along with the New York-style pizza.
Anthony’s on the Hill in Church Hill had been open for six years before it closed. The restaurant re-opened with a breakfast menu only, but that did not last long.
So after about 18 months, we closed that in February and then reopen the restaurant. We started opening when reports just started coming in. By the time we were ready to open, the state was in lockdown.
How has the community responded?
We had such an overwhelming welcome back. We didn't announce that we were opening, so we kind of just turned on the sign, opened the door, and two hours later we were sold out of dough. We were out of food.
And how did that make you feel?
It was great that everybody that came in was really happy that we were back and they kept telling us. And the response was just really overwhelming and it was great.
So how are you operating?
Just take out and delivery only. We've been taking phone orders, but we recently just set up online ordering to even make it more seamless.
I wiped down all of our machines and cash register. We're not taking cash. So we're just trying to take every precaution that we can.
How has this experience changed you, or has it?
Oh, I think it has. Really, it shows you how far sometimes we have to go and what we'll do to stay healthier and protect ourselves and our loved ones and in the end we get through it.
We're donating pizzas to VCU Medical Center to thank all of the medical staff there for all of their work.
I think for everyone it's been a real eyeopener. This is something that can happen on a moment's notice, which it actually has.
I think from a business perspective too, it's almost, you know, getting creative and seeing how can you still operate with all of these obstacles and all of these restrictions.
You had to get creative with problem solving essentially too, which I thought, you know, in the end is helpful to anyone that's a small business owner.
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