Local restaurants are doing their best during the worst times

By Laura Latzko


The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the restaurant industry, especially local mom-and-pop restaurants in Cave Creek and Carefree. These local restaurants have needed to adapt to change to be able to survive. Two local restaurants, Giordano’s Trattoria Romana and Harold’s Cave Creek Corral, have done just that.

Giordano’s Trattoria Romana

For Giordano’s Trattoria Romana, surviving during COVID-19 has meant serving customers in different ways, depending on COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.

When restaurants were closed for in-house dining from March to May, Giordano’s offered curbside pickup for its customers. It is known for its veal dishes like ossobuco Milanese and house specialties such as eggplant parmigiana and pollo fricassee.

Owner Adele Giordano says that throughout this year, local customers have helped her restaurant survive.

“I have to say the people in Carefree, my regular customers, were so completely supportive. They were determined that they didn’t want to lose us. We were pretty busy with takeout, and I was able to get the bills paid and pay my staff,” Giordano says.

The restaurant reopened for in-house dining in May. Giordano says customers were hesitant to come back at first, but soon they started to show.

Her restaurant has closely followed CDC guidelines related to social distancing, including positioning tables 6 feet apart, changing to paper menus, requiring masks for staff, ensuring diners wear masks when first entering the facility, offering patio and indoor seating, and not allowing groups of more than 10 people to sit together.

“That’s a little new, when you have friends and family wanting to sit together and they really can’t. I go out of my way to follow the guidelines because I don’t want to have any repercussions,” Giordano says.

“I strictly follow social distancing in seating of the tables.”

Before reopening in May, the staff rearranged tables and removed bar seating.

Giordano says the safety measures have helped diners to feel secure to dine at the restaurant.

“As time went on, people started to really trust us and know they could come and feel safe,” Giordano says.

Giordano says that while most customers have been understanding, some have had trouble adjusting to the new protocols.

“Sometimes people will come in and they will see an empty table and they wouldn’t get that I can’t seat them there because there is someone else that is too close. Sometimes they are not very happy with that, or they don’t like having to wait. Unfortunately, it’s not my law. I’m just following the guidelines,” Giordano says.

Along with her duties as owner, Giordano also acts as a server in her restaurant. Her full-time staff has been with her for a number of years. Her chefs are known for their sauces and ability to cook food in a consistent manner.

“You can order something now and come back next year, and it would taste the same,” Giordano says.

She has avoided laying off employees during the pandemic.

“I’ve been able to maintain my staff, which is really important to me,” Giordano says.

Giordano says some days can be more difficult than others, but she has just been pressing on, day by day.

“As frustrating as it is having to wear a mask for five hours, six hours and be really uncomfortable, you have to do it. You just have to be persistent and pray that it passes us and we’ll be done with it relatively soon,” Giordano says.

Giordano says it hasn’t been easy running a business during COVID-19, but she and her staff are doing everything they can to make sure the restaurant continues on for years to come. 

“We are just getting the job done and surviving as best as we can,” Giordano says.

Giordano’s Trattoria Romana

7275 E. Easy Street, Carefree

480-595-0233, giordanostrattoriaromana.com

Harold’s Cave Creek Corral

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