Bright side for Fairfield restaurants: Make that ‘to go’
FAIRFIELD — Little by little, food businesses throughout town have been adapting to the new and unusual practices stemming from the COVID-19 fallout, and while there have been significant challenges, they’re also striving to find the silver linings.
“It’s tough right now,” said Dominick Giresi, owner of the Italian Kitchen on the Post Road. “We’re literally trying to reinvent ourselves overnight.”
Many of their offerings — including hosting cooking classes and catering big satellite events — have been taken off the burner for the time being.
Yet Giresi said this is also a time when he’s seeing the community bringing its support to the establishment he’s owned these past eight years, trying to patronize it in various ways and even extending their cares and concern to others.
“There are people ordering take-out for other people — for the elderly, for family friends,” he said, using the opportunity to give to others.
“It’s just a lot of people coming together,” he said.
Doing their part, Giresi is subsidizing pizza pie deliveries to various hospitals throughout the area, splitting costs with his customers and getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pies out the door the past couple of weeks to feed those on the front line of the virus fight.
“We’re trying to give back too,” said Lauren Orellano, owner of Aurora’s on the Post Road.
“I’m from Fairfield, so I know how supportive the town is,” she said, “ so we’re lucky in that sense.”
Appreciative of various initiatives to get more patrons out and buying, Orellano said she wants to return a favor by trying to present good deals to take-out diners, such as their family meals, with inclusive wine.
“They’re helping us and we’re trying to offer something in return,” she said. “That’s how it works.”
“We have the regulars supporting us,” said Kate Giankos, general manager of Mike’s Pizzeria on the Post Road, noting that after 47 years in business they’re hoping this drastic change in business doesn’t have permanent adverse effects.
“We’re hanging in there, like everyone else,” she said, noting it’s still hard.
“We’re adjusting pretty well,” said Soledad Cortes, kitchen manager of The Stand Vegan Café in the Sports Complex on Mill Plain Road. “We’re pretty much going with the flow at the moment.”
The changes have inspired them to add delivery, she said, which will become a permanent part of their business ever after.
There was initially a drop in business when the restrictions were first put in place, Cortes said, but things have begun slowly moving back.
“Little by little the customers are coming out,” she said.
James Philbin of Fairfield, a frequent customer at the Italian Kitchen, noted that smaller restaurants such as that one have been frequent contributors to the community, thus deserving reciprocation in harder times.
“It’s really important to remember the small places like this,” he said, “that are community-driven and support local school events and Little League.”
Philbin said customers do right by patronizing them in return, “especially when they’re in a time of need, like they are now.”