Valley restaurants seeing big changes as coronavirus continues to spread


The restaurants we talked to said one side of their business is struggling, while another is booming


(WYTV) – As cases of COVID-19 coronavirus continue to multiply and everyday life changes, one thing won’t change — you have to eat. Restaurants are seeing some positive and some negative effects.

Kravitz Deli in Liberty has been piling corned beef high since 1939. It still has good crowds for lunch but Jack Kravitz senses something going on.

“We are seeing some big effects in our catering business,” he said.

Kravitz’s biggest event of the year — the Goodwill Auction — has been postponed but the restaurant already bought supplies for the banquet. That loss of cash flow can hurt a small business.

“I’ve been at this a while, and we want to be able to zig and zag and change with the business as you need,” Kravitz said.

Kravitz bought 5,000 pounds of corned beef and is holding it in a trailer outside the store, just waiting for St. Patrick’s Day. Carryout has been 60% to 65% of its business.

Kravitz has come up with the Reuben Rescue in response to the coronavirus threat. You can take home sandwiches to grill yourself and if you’re afraid of crowds, Kravitz will also have an express food truck outside.

“If you’re uncomfortable being in the restaurant, let’s get you outside where you’re more comfortable and still go on celebrating the holiday,” Kravitz said.

At Blue Wolf Tavern in Boardman, Joe Rzonsa hadn’t noticed much of an impact until lunch Thursday.

“Was ticked down just a little bit but at the same time, we had a significant increase in carryouts and deliveries,” he said.

Rzonsa opened the Blue Wolf in Struthers four weeks before the September 11 terrorist attacks. He said the three weeks that followed were the hardest three weeks in business.

“This weekend is going to be a great indicator of what people are thinking they’re going to do,” Rzonsa said.

He will be careful with his budgeting as he sees the response to coronavirus.

Blue Wolf’s catering business has had people call about postponing events. Rzonsa believes restaurants are safer than many stores because of the health requirements restaurant employees have to follow.

“We have no less than three people that are Level 2 safety- and sanitation-certified. Ohio mandates one person at all times. We have three,” he said.

Blue Wolf and Kravitz figure restaurants will be popular for carryout and delivery. They’re prepared to handle the influx.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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