North Park Restaurant Reflects on 1st Year in Business During Pandemic

The restaurant industry has been hit by the pandemic hard and one local business owner shares his experience after he opened his eatery just weeks before things started to shut down

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Diego family-owned restaurant Rusticucina has had to pivot and adapt in every way after it opened just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic changed our lives.

Officially opening its business in February 2020 in North Park, the restaurant actually turned into more of a grocery store at one point just to keep things moving and to sell some of their inventory.

Its first year of operation was unusual, to say the least as the owner's dream of running a restaurant turned into his new establishment relying on selling flour, pasta and wine by bottle just to stay afloat.

It's managed to stay open through it all, however, at least as much as they could. The restaurant's journey hasn't come without some difficult decisions along the way, though.

The owner told NBC 7 that when the stay-at-home order went back into effect a few months ago, they had to let 35% of their staff go, which was hard, as you can imagine, for many reasons.

“Especially for a new business, it was very stressful," said Marco Provino, owner of Rusticucina. "Especially right now, it’s very difficult to find good people and unfortunately when you have to let someone go because of something not dependent on us, it’s very stressful."

When the restrictions called for restaurants to only offer take out services, Provino said Rusticucina lost about 95% of its business. A positive note, though, was that Provino reopened his business' patio and he said that has made a significant difference.

Even through this incredibly challenging year, Provino said he is currently working on opening two other restaurants in San Diego.

Contact Us