Editor’s be aware: A previous model of this story contained incorrect weekend hours for Dominick’s diner.
Tony and Tina Ferraro have owned Dominick’s for 5 years, two of which have been in the course of a pandemic, and like most other cafe owners they have experienced to combat to retain their business enterprise afloat.
“I determine we have dropped $500,000 in revenue in a 12 months and a fifty percent,” Tina Ferraro claimed, centered on pre-pandemic numbers from the downtown Erie fixture at 123 E. 12th St.
She claimed she understands each and every restaurant owner is in the very same boat.
“This isn’t a ‘woe-is-us’ problem,” she said. “We are not unique in that. I know. We’re just striving to be clear about the problem.”
But she and her partner, a former welder, have attempted everything they can feel of to transform a revenue in a small business she reported charges $35,000 a thirty day period in charges.
“Do you have any idea how quite a few meatball omelets you have to provide to make that?” Tina Ferraro reported about the diner’s specialty dish. “We are not building that in gross sales. We just lately acquired support from a pal to support us make payroll.
“I figure if practically nothing variations, we won’t make it to summer.”
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Making an attempt almost everything to continue to be open up
She claimed they have attempted coupon codes, circulars, prepared-to-eat get-and-go’s, advertising, a deal of the working day, loans from federal stimulus plans and other actions to attract customers.
Now, she reported, she’s heading all in, quitting her own job handling Undertaking Very first Phase at the Erie Household for Young children and Adults so she can function comprehensive time at the restaurant, and decreasing dinner several hours to only Saturday and Sunday.
“We recognize that suggests we are losing some organization, but we can not find the money for to be open” for the 1 or two tables they were getting at evening meal all through the week, she said.
They’ve gotten problems about the new hours from prospects, but there are not sufficient frequent buyers to pay out the staff and utility costs it takes to provide dinner all 7 days.
Meanwhile, the Ferraros have tried to be frugal, changing older machines with far more successful pieces to provide down their utility charges, chopping employees hrs and making fiscal arrangements with distributors.
At this point, the company is mortgaged, the land it sits on is mortgaged, as is the house they dwell in.
“We’ve been so considerably driving, we’ve owed everybody every thing,” Tina Ferraro mentioned.
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A person dazzling location was supposed to assist. They were remodeled and promised a attribute on Discovery Channel’s spinoff of Glenn Stearns’ “Undercover Billionaire.” But the night time of the observe social gathering, they listened to it had been rescheduled. Then it was rescheduled once more, and when it finally ran, it was at 11 p.m. on a day they failed to even know about.
Meanwhile, situations at Erie venues such as Erie Insurance plan Arena, the Warner Theatre and other destinations have been canceled, bringing in much less people today. And even though they recognize that the new Flagship City Foodstuff Hall is thrilling for the community at substantial, they’re worried it’s drawing enterprise away from their component of town.
“Our revenue have been dismal because that opened,” Tina Ferraro mentioned.
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Pre-pandemic very hot spot
By contrast, Roar on the Shore motorbike rallies applied to bring in so much business they when ran out of food. Trans-Siberian Orchestra and other concerts employed to mean packed eating rooms. Place of work workers from the neighborhood utilised to congregate for lunch. But now, lots of corporations have not introduced staff back into the business since remote work started two decades ago.
“I’m not a pessimist by mother nature,” Tina Ferraro said. “But this has actually analyzed our endurance and creativity. This disaster has produced Tony and I more powerful, and some times are superior and we are definitely joyful, but then the up coming day we’ll see one particular shopper an hour.”
She claimed she and her spouse grew up eating at Dominick’s when it was operate by Dominick (“Nick”) Fedei.
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Loyal purchaser JoAnn Really like Dickey, 75, said she remembers Tony and Tina Ferraro from when she and her partner, the late Ed Lenz, utilized to repeated the diner.
“The young ones who personal it now — I phone them kids for the reason that they employed to occur in when they were adolescents — it was excellent to see them purchase the cafe and carry it on,” Dickey mentioned.
“But they have experienced struggles and obstacles that they simply cannot do nearly anything about,” Dickey said, remembering when her husband used to shell out days sitting, feeding on and ingesting espresso by two waitress shifts, other regulars coming and going.
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“It was a loved ones,” she reported. “I had a Facebook page for all the regulars and employees. But most of them are absent now.”
She will not want the 12th Street fixture, “property to the well known meatball omelet,” to close, but she doesn’t know what can be carried out.
“They just aren’t getting the small business,” Dickey stated. “I really don’t know why. The food is amazing and the provider is fantastic. They’re performing so difficult and I just desire there was one thing I can do.”
Tina Ferraro said at the time she’s functioning there total-time, she may well be in a position to set additional energy into outreach and assist preserve dollars on staffing.
“This is a group asset,” she said about the cafe. “We’ve hosted the Emmaus Soup Kitchen and absolutely free local community Thanksgiving dinners.
“All people has a memory of heading to Dominick’s after a evening of consuming at the bars, back again when the cafe was 24 hrs.”
She claimed she is set versus closing, but she’s also trying to be real looking.
“If we go out, we are likely out fighting,” she claimed.
For subscribers:Search our Erie County Cafe Revitalization Fund databases
Dominick’s diner specifics
New several hours: Mondays by means of Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Day particular:Open up 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes.