San Diego

Local Restaurant Adapts to New Norm to Help Ease Customers' Concerns

One Italian farm-to-table inspired restaurant had just opened about a month before the pandemic forced restaurants nationwide to shut down

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Like so many other businesses, restaurants have had to make a lot of changes to be able to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, one family-owned restaurant in North Park is finding new ways to change things up to make sure everyone stays safe.

Rusticucina is an Italian farm-to-table inspired menu, so there's generally a lot of sharing and talking about the food. The owner, though, is trying new things to help with social distancing, like showing Italian movies out on the patio each night so people would be more inclined to sit outside.

Like the majority of restaurants and bars, this was a labor of love for the owner, Marco Provino.

It took years to make this dream a reality, and having to close a little more than a month of opening his eatery was tough on him.

In March, Rusticucina completely closed for a few weeks, then opened just for to-go orders. Now, it's back open but since it’s still kind of slow, only a few employees were brought back.

The owner told NBC 7 the most important thing right now is to follow safety guidelines and stay open to be there for the community.

“We want to be here. We want to look to our neighbor that we’ll be here no matter what,” Provino said.

One more change was made -- a guest can come inside and have very little interaction with the server.

Each day, the chef posts the specials and the menu on the restaurant's website, and a customer can order from right there and it goes straight from the table to the kitchen.

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