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Takeout Tuesday: Support local restaurants, cafes as they ready for Phase Three

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Posted at 5:34 AM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 12:15:05-04

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Angela Clark has tried to make the best of an impossible situation.

"(We're) just looking at everything to see what we can do, what we can streamline, what we can improve," Clark, the owner of The Coffee Shoppe in Portsmouth, told News 3 in April.

The cafe on High Street began offering curbside takeout, something Clark thought she'd never do, to great success.

Still, business was down 50-60 percent, she said at the time. Like so many other businesses, Clark had to lay off her employees.

In the months since, some have returned as business has improved and Clark says customers continue to be generous.

"Just on Saturday, I was looking at our reports, it caught my attention that someone left a $40 tip on, like, a $3 item so, yeah, people are being really generous, our baristas are really benefiting from that," she said.

With Phase Three of Virginia's coronavirus recovery set to begin on Wednesday, the hope is it'll continue to grow. Caps on capacity will be lifted, but social distancing rules still apply.

It's the same hope over in Virginia Beach at a restaurant called Pasta E Pani by Salvatore.

Pasta E Pani is located on Great Neck Road and opened 30 years ago, but it got a new start as Pasta E Pani by Salvatore in 2018 when Chef Salvatore Robilotta took over.

Robilotta was born in Naples, Italy and moved to the United States in 1998, according to his biography on the restaurant's website. He was chasing the American dream.

"This country been good to me. There's no doubt about it," Robilotta told News 3 on Tuesday.

Robilotta's menu features authentic Italian dishes and fresh-made pasta.

"I came from a family of people working a restaurant. My grandfather was one chef and all us kids follow his steps," he said, adding that now, he treats customers like his own family.

"It's something I love to do so much, it's like, how you say? If you work something that you love, you never be tired one day of your life of working," said Robilotta, whom customers know as "Sal."

The pandemic and restrictions in place to keep coronavirus from spreading have put Robilotta's dream in jeopardy.

Not only has it been difficult getting people in the doors, it's been hard finding employees. To make ends meet, Robilotta has been selling his fresh, handmade pasta, sauces, bread and take home Italian dinner kits at markets around the area.

"People like to know that it's homemade because when you [make something by hand], it's something that you do with love," he said.

The Coffee Shoppe
300 High St, Portsmouth, VA 23704
(757) 391-9191

Pasta E Pani by Salvatore
1340 N Great Neck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23454
(757) 422-3232