Omaha restaurant homeowners battle by companies amid the pandemic

Calculated games of chance and final decisions. Omaha restaurant owners choose the durability of their facilities.

I’ve been speaking to restaurants and small businesses for months now – and each has its own set of difficulties. From closing the store to hoping it gets better, the Omaha food scene is battling its way through this pandemic.

With phase three of the reopening, fresh in the air – not everyone celebrates.

“It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Dave Mainelli, owner of Julio’s.

Julio’s in the 120th and West Center, the last of a former restaurant chain, is permanently closed.

“Was COVID the reason? I mean, it could have happened at some point anyway, but it sure slammed the door, ”said Mainelli.

Mainelli credits his staff with keeping Julio going – who are now trying to re-establish themselves.

“It’s just this big hole in my heart that – it hurts,” Mainelli said.

In the old market, Addy’s bar and grill owner Tim Addison started working at his fourth location before the pandemic.

“Halfway through we wondered what we were going to do and decided to just go ahead and do the best we could with what we had,” Addison said.

Delayed construction, difficulty finding people willing to take risks, and rising food costs didn’t make Addy’s first week of business typical.

“It was a challenge every day. The only thing everyone needs to understand is that we’re doing our best, ”said Addison.

Addison is relieved to start a new chapter in the restaurant industry. Mainelli is unsure if he will have the opportunity to re-enter the field he has worked in for so long.

Both owners face challenges that they can only overcome for one day each.

Mainelli told me that he had employees who had lifelong careers in his restaurant, and other companies know that. They were trying to hire someone they could.

Both owners tell me the pandemic showed them just how true Nebraska Strong is.

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