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This 35-year-old restaurant in Miami Beach is finding ways to stay afloat

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 11, 2021

In our We’re Open segment, we highlight local restaurants and businesses that are trying to stay afloat. The restaurant industry has seen some of the most notable changes caused by the pandemic. This week involves a Miami Beach eatery that’s been around for decades.

“I was fortunate enough to start here as a waiter 20 years ago,” said Gilbert Gonzalez, owner of Osteria del Teatro.

Now, Gilbert is the owner of the Miami Beach staple Osteria del Teatro. The Italian eatery has been around for over 30 years. Gilbert says it’s the oldest Italian eatery on South Beach.

“We’re a family-style restaurant that’s been in business for almost 35 years. We want to welcome back our customers. We want to them to have a wonderful and safe environment for them to enjoy dinner and celebrations,” said Gilbert.

Like hundreds of thousands of restaurants in South Florida, they’re struggling. Reaching out to social media in hopes to attract customers to come in and eat.

“Unfortunately now with the pandemic, a lot of locals don’t want to come to South Beach because they’ve seen how crazy it’s been with a lot of people not following social distancing rules and not wearing masks, so that’s really affected our business tremendously. We have social distancing between the tables, we’re wearing face coverings, we’re wearing gloves, we put in special filters to filter out all the viruses that we can. We’re doing the best that we can,” said Gilbert.

Curfew is also making it difficult for restaurants that only open for dinner, like Osteria del Teatro, to serve more customers.

“We’re now opening up at 5pm, hoping to get a few people and whoever is in town to come in and spend some money. We really need it,” said Gilbert.

To stay afloat, Gilbert had to apply for PPP loans, expand takeout options and unfortunately, lay off more than half of his staff.

“By them coming here and having dinner, it helps support the waiters, bussers and kitchen staff that desperately need more work. We only four days a week right now and if we can open up more days it would be great. Several of my employees do not want to come back because unemployment pays them a lot more than what I could pay them right now,” said Gilbert.

Osteria del Teatro is located at 1200 Collins Avenue and you can find more information about their takeout options on their website.

Local restaurants and businesses need our help now more than ever. If there’s a restaurant or business you’d like to see featured, email us at feedback@wsfltv.com