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Lee-Collier-Charlotte
Business Observer Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020 2 weeks ago

Popular restaurant reopens — without some theatrics

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Vergina Restaurant has been closed since April.

NAPLES — One of the more prominent eateries on Fifth Avenue South in Naples, Vergina Restaurant, known for its nightly entertainment and monthly dinner shows, has reopened after shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“When the stay at home order was announced and our restaurant closed, we decided to use the interim to refresh and breathe new life into the restaurant,” says Vergina general manager Eric Tancredi in a statement. “We began with a few cosmetic upgrades in the main dining room as the enormous marble columns were removed to open the space and create an airy and light feeling.”

Vergina Restaurant has stood out in a crowded upscale restaurant space, Tancredi says, partially through its theatrics, including bringing in performers such as operatic tenor Ghaleb and Flamenco guitarist and dancer Luis Mejia. Also, part of the restaurant’s charm, the release states, is its table side flourishes, including saucing and preparing dishes tableside. That will go away under COVID-19 safety precautions. The restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood, and also a variety of popular Mediterranean dishes with modern flair, the release states.

Other precautions will be implemented, including sanitizer everywhere for guests and staff; routine body temperature test for employees before shifts; employees are provided with disposable face masks and shields; Plexiglas at all customer touch points; and the use of masks in public areas.

“To help reduce contact, we’ve added a QR code to every table and at our hostess station so customers may use their phone to go straight to our menu without needing a physical menu,” Tancredi  says in the statement. “You can also visit our website or hit the menu button on our Facebook page to see a menu as well. Physical menus are still available on request.”

In addition to safety precautions, the music and entertainment system has been upgraded, the release states “with the installation of a new advanced sound and lighting system in the bar area to provide clear, balanced music and enhanced lighting on the dance floor.” The kitchen was also overhauled with new flooring, equipment and prep stations.

“As an industry, a founding principle for restaurateurs is to take care of other people,” says Tancredi in the statement. “While there is reduced occupancy in the dining rooms and bar areas of our restaurant, we are balancing the joy of dining with the new realities of covid.”

 

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