Chula Vista

Restaurants Feeling the Pressure to Stay Open

Owners defy the public health order while others follow the rules.

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“We’re trying to keep everybody safe.”

That’s Joseph Karadakis’ goal while trying to get the newest Grater Grilled Cheese restaurant off the ground in Chula Vista.

“It’s been challenging for sure for us,” said Karadakis, the chef behind the restaurant’s menu. “People are aching to go back to normal.”

Grater Grilled Cheese opened in Chula Vista’s Otay Ranch community Friday, but no one was allowed to dine inside or outside the restaurant.

“I’m not going to lie: It’s been rough. It’s been rough for every single restaurant,” he said. “We’re just rolling up our sleeves, dealing with this new reality, and just trying to make the best out of it, trying to be positive.”

Karadakis said his restaurant will follow the public health safety guidelines set by the state and county. That means the Grater Grilled Cheese will only have take-out and deliveries as it tries to establish itself in the community. He said he’s aware of other restaurants defying those orders in places like Carlsbad, which had customers on-site this weekend.

“They can do their own thing. We are going to do our own thing,” said Karadakis. “I would love to have tables outside and be able to service customers, but in no way is the profitability or any sort of financial metric worth risking the safety and the human life in my opinion."

Despite adhering to the public health rules, Karadakis said Grater Grilled Cheese sold out of all of their supplies during their first weekend.

“Trying to smile, even though it doesn’t look like it with a face mask,” he said, clearly smiling behind his face mask.

The Otay Ranch restaurant is Grater Grilled Cheese’s fourth location in San Diego and Orange counties. Karadakis said he thinks the industry and his restaurants will be back to normal by May.

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