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Hamilton County restaurants starting to rebound amid coronavirus

Hamilton County restaurants starting to rebound amid coronavirus

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - When Adson Franco got the word that Matteo's Ristorante Italiano in Hamilton County would reopen, he quickly alerted his staff.

"It hasn't been easy staying closed for almost 60 days, but we made it," said Franco, co-owner of Matteo's in Noblesville.​

Monday started the second full week of operations.​

​Governor Holcomb relaxed restrictions for restaurants beginning Monday, May 11, allowing owners to operate at 50 percent capacity. Since then, guests began trickling back in to dining rooms.​

Franco said the first day they opened, no one knew what to expect. ​

​"I can relate to my very first day in the industry, 17 years ago, starting my first day at the job," said Franco.​

​He said as days went by, customers kept coming.​

​"On Friday and Saturday, we had to turn reservations away, unfortunately, because we had reached maximum capacity for reservations," said Franco.​

​He said guests welcomed changes, like single use utensils, paper menus, paper napkins and a sanitizer station. All staff must also wear masks.​

​Around the corner at Grindstone Public House, managers are doing the same.​

​"We actually had 50 to 60 reservations on the books, and we went on a slight wait on Monday," said Jacob Foster, manager of Grindstone, which opened in 2018.​

​Inside, many tables were removed and some closed to keep with social distancing requirements. ​

​"What we're trying to do is send the right message that we're doing everything we can to make sure their health is top priority and that they can feel comfortable coming out and dining with us," said Foster.​

​Foster said they want to take sanitation to the next level. ​

​"We're looking into BioShield75. It's a compound you can spray on surfaces you touch, and it creates a barrier that actively fights viruses and bacteria for up to 30 days, and that's outside of regular sanitation and cleaning," said Foster.​

​The company was able to re-hire all of its staff. ​

​"With us having the staff come back, it has been a little bit of a challenge to make sure that we're being able to provide them with enough income and enough hours to make it worth their time to be back at work," said Foster.​

​As things begin to get back to normal, Franco said he hopes this is the start of something good.​

​"We're very optimistic things will get back on track. We just can't afford another shutdown. That's the only concern we have. Hopefully the [coronavirus] cases won't go up that the governor is going to mandate us to shut down again," said Franco.​

​Both restaurants, like many others, continue to offer carry-out and delivery.​