LOGAN — Gatti’s Pizza at the Fountain Place Mall will finally reopen Thursday, Oct. 15, after being closed for nearly seven months.
Like most of its buffet-style counterparts, Gatti’s Pizza closed its doors March 18 during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the restaurant was only open for one weekend for an experimental run of drive-thru carryout service, which owner Diana Barnette said did not work.
“Gatti’s is literally a social gathering place,” Barnette said. “People want the buffet, the salad, the options. Everybody comes and gets what they want, so we’re going to open with all the social distancing and all the guidelines in place.”
Instead of its typical buffet setup, Gatti’s will now instead serve food cafeteria style. Customers will tell Gatti’s employees what kind of pizzas they want — even if it’s two or three different kinds — and those pizzas will be made and brought back to the customer.
Customers will also be able to choose what items they want from the salad bar, as well as the restaurant’s other menu items. Because of tight financial circumstances, Barnette said the salad bar will not include some items like cottage cheese or fruit due to their faster spoiling times.
The restaurant, which features a large dining area that seats 300 people, will be at half capacity only, which Barnette said was normal on most business days anyway. Tables are marked, and half of the games in the game room will be shut off to ensure proper COVID-19 precautions are followed.
Additionally, an employee will be on hand in the game room at all times to sanitize games after they are played. Following with Gov. Jim Justice’s July executive order, masks are required upon entry into the building.
The drive-thru window also will be open.
The restaurant will also continue to host parties, but only the bigger room will be open for parties. The smaller spaces in the back of the building will be closed.
Barnette said that in the seven months the restaurant has been shut down, it took a significant financial loss, along with employees, who sought other work. However, the restaurant was able to secure funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection and Economic Impact Disaster Loans (EIDL) programs to keep it afloat while it was shut down.
“I think we’ll be OK,” Barnette said. “I think people are ready to start getting out. They feel a little more comfortable because they know everybody is trying to be cautious. We are not reckless. Hopefully, we can just start building. I know everybody’s missed it. I’ve missed it.”
Gatti’s Pizza will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon-8 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant will not be open Monday through Wednesday; Barnette cited slow business on those days as the reason why.