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The Barstool Fund - Gaetano's Tavern on Main

Up next: Gaetano's Tavern on Main (Wallingford, CT)

Gaetano's Tavern on Main is a great bar & restaurant with a beautiful private banquet room for any occasion. Gaetano's Tavern attracts a lively night-life with a younger crowd, and the dining area is perfect for families and friends to gather.

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Reader Email

My sister and I have grown up in the business because my father and his family owned a restaurant years ago in the same town for many years starting off with my grandfather. We always knew the restaurant business could be tough but we decided to give it a go and it has had it's ups and downs, however, 2020 has been an awful year in more ways than one. Starting off with my sister, my partner having a stroke which left her partially disabled and out of commission for a few months. Then the Governor shut down inside dining and went to take-out only. 

Thank God we had so many great customers that supported us during the take-out period otherwise I don't know how we would have survived. One night while I was wrapping orders to-go, one of my husband's friends came in to the restaurant to tell me that he brought my husband to the hospital and they thought he was also having a stroke. His stay at Yale New Haven Hospital was approximately a week with no visitors, which was very stressful but fortunately his stroke was small and he came out of it with no residual.

The restaurant continued with take-outs but no bar business or parties in our banquet room were allowed due to Covid, so paying our bills was a hardship, plus my sister and I were not taking a paycheck because we were trying to keep the business afloat. I began feeling very ill and couldn't figure out what was going on and contributed it to stress. Went for blood work and other tests to hopefully find out why I was feeling so bad but no one could find out the problem. Finally one day I couldn't take it any longer, I felt like I was getting sicker and sicker so I had my husband bring me to the emergency room. Long story short, my appendix had ruptured a couple of weeks back and I was living with the infection for those weeks and that was why I was feeling so ill, so now I ended up in the hospital too receiving antibiotics intravenously to get rid of the infection. After my hospital stay I started to feel better, finally, and on July 3rd I was coming down my stairs at home, tripped and broke my foot, which left me in a soft cast for approximately 8 weeks. So I had to hobble around and do my best but thank God for our long term dedicated employees that have been with us for almost our whole time in business, because they were such a huge help. 

During the summer we were lucky enough to have the town put up barriers in our parking lot so we could extend our patio for outdoor dining, which was a life saver, however, once the weather got cold people did not want to come inside even with the dividers we installed and all the precautions we took, which I totally understood because the media was scaring everyone - which I guess to some extent was necessary - and basically saying restaurants were a bad place to be. Business was dropping quickly and we were losing money fast, due to the large overhead and expenses we have at our restaurant. 

Then we had a bout of Covid ourselves and 11 employees came down with it, including myself and my sister, which caused us to close down for a period of time. Thank God no one became very ill from it but again being closed was another hardship. The night before Thanksgiving has always been a crazy busy night for us and this year we only had 1 person sitting at the bar at 10pm. December has always been the month where business was great with Christmas parties due to our private banquet room and it gave us a chance to store away money to help us get through the slow months of January & February, but this year we didn't have one party, so I am very worried about the beginning of 2021. 

I think this is great what you guys are doing with helping small businesses out, and I am sure you are getting bombarded with many applications because so many small businesses are suffering at this time. We will be in business for 18 years this February and 2020 is one of those years that not only business wise but health wise has been a huge challenge. I always say things can be much worse and I'm thankful for what we have but any help we could get at this time would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

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