Students lined up along Kirkwood Avenue on Saturday morning waiting for a table at the Village Deli, which reopened Sept. 17.
Flooding and staff shortages forced the restaurant to close in June. The Village Deli, which is a breakfast restaurant, spent a few weeks replacing damaged equipment and sanitizing before opening in July. It closed again at the end of the month because of the limited number of employees, owner Bob Costello said.
Costello said the businesses providing the restaurant’s food are also experiencing shortages of employees and products. He said the staff decided to take some time to decide whether they wanted to reopen or wait until the labor market changed for the better.
“It was really difficult to provide the service and quality of the food at the levels that we find acceptable because our staff was just so shorthanded,” he said.
After a few weeks of taking time to determine the future of the restaurant, the Village Deli opened again Sept. 17.
Community members and students, including junior Nathan Stone, are excited for the Village Deli’s long-awaited reopening.
“I had no idea it reopened, but I love the Village Deli,” Stone said. “I’m so happy it is reopened.”
To attract more employees, Costello raised wages and offered free meals for employees. He also limited the hours of Village Deli to give staff two days of rest during the week. The hours of operation for dine-in are now 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. during weekends. Online ordering for carryout or delivery is only available on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The restaurant has limited seating based on the number of employees on shift each day to ensure customers receive good service.
“Most people that eat out recognize that there is a global shortage of employees and that their service is going to be a little bit slower, but they will get hot food, and it will be delicious,” Costello said.
The Village Deli is asking for people’s help to find employees to fulfill customers’ expectations for the service and quality of food. But despite being short-staffed, the first few days since reopening have been successful, Costello said.
“We had a really good turnout," he said. "The staff that we have is excited to be back at work. We’re all getting back into our routine and knocking the cobwebs out.”