Bielat Santore & Company debuts first interview of “Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry” series revival, “How You Doin” – COVID-19 Edition with owner of B2 Bistro + Bar, Sandy D’Anton.
ALLENHURST, NJ: No one ever imagined that the nation would still be battling COVID-19, nearly a year since the outbreak began, yet here we are. It’s been over 300 days since the government mandated national closures on non-essential businesses, implementing curfews, quarantines, and restrictions on operating businesses – an order no one expected would still be in place today. On March 16, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a statewide lockdown, forcing restaurants and retail stores to operate solely on take-out and curbside service, while bars, nightclubs, catering facilities, and concert venues had to close their doors – some never reopening to the public again. While restrictions have loosened a bit since the shutdown began, business owners struggle to recover, making each day that goes by crucial to their survival.
In the revival of Bielat Santore & Company’s “Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry” series, this new “How You Doin” – COVID Edition, interviews varied New Jersey restaurant owners, eliciting real-life business experiences throughout the pandemic. In this first interview, multi-restaurant owner and operator of B2 Bistro + Bar, Sandy D’Anton shares the hardships her restaurants have endured and her hopes for a post-COVID world.
No business owner could have predicted the long-standing battle of the global pandemic, even five-time restaurant owner, D’Anton. With five B2 Bistro + Bar locations in the tri-state area including Red Bank, Point Pleasant Beach, North Brunswick, Toms River, New Jersey, and West Reading, Pennsylvania, D’Anton admits “things have been difficult.” Like most restaurateurs, D’Anton took advantage of outdoor seating to combat the limited indoor dining capacity, expanding even into the streets and adding igloos, heated tents, and firepits to outdoor patio areas. “We are using the igloos in Point Pleasant Beach and ordered more for our North Brunswick location,” said D’Anton. “The igloos have received a surprisingly positive response. They fill up immediately.” Meanwhile, when dining indoors, customers can expect socially distanced tables and constant sanitizing as per CDC guidelines. “What really hurt the most was the newest restrictions implemented in November,” said D’Anton, referring to New Jersey’s mandatory closures on serving indoors between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am for restaurants and bars, as well as forbidding bar seating. “I am really looking forward to the bar seating opening up again.”
With no timeline on when restaurants can reopen again at full capacity, D’Anton had to focus on delivery and to-go orders more than ever. “To-go hasn’t been a savior but it has helped us increase sales,” said D’Anton. “It kept us breathing for a bit.” The bistros also experimented with to-go cocktails finding some success there as well. “Pretty much anything we tried worked at some point,” said D’Anton. The biggest concern D’Anton had was for his suppliers and staff, who she thankfully was able to keep employed. “It’s not just the restaurants that are suffering. It’s the people that supply them and work for them as well.” With a vaccine on the horizon, D’Anton is praying that the future will be brighter for the restaurant industry, sooner rather than later. “Barring anything extreme happening, I think we’re going to be okay. I’m hoping we can get back to normal – not the new normal, but normal.”
B2 Bistro + Bar is open 7 days a week for indoor and outdoor dining, and curbside service. A four-course Valentine’s Day catering menu is also available for pick-up at the Red Bank location. Visit their website at https://www.b2bistro.com/ for more information.
Stay tuned for Bielat Santore & Company’s next “Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry” COVID Edition interview to be featured on the company’s website at https://www.123bsc.com/.