Restaurant diners again enjoying a seat at the table

Published on Friday, 19 June 2020 18:04


Since Connecticut restaurants have been allowed to open for indoor dining, business has been slowly picking up again at some area establishments.

Tulay Uzun, manager of Bristol’s Riverside Restaurant, said they were open for breakfast and lunch as usual on June 17, but with every other booth blocked off for mandated social distancing.

“People are coming in, slowly though,” she said. “They are cautious because the majority of our customers are elderly. It picked up a little bit on Thursday, then it picked up a little bit Friday; it’s day by day.”

Uzun also said all their workers wear masks inside the kitchen and outside the kitchen.

“Customers are supposed to wear masks when they walk in and they can take the mask off when they sit down. Then disinfect the tables every time somebody gets up. We take our time to clean it up, because you never know,” Uzun said.

It feels good to open again, she added. “It’s been a rough three months for all of us and we are definitely happy to be back. It would have been better under different circumstances but we try our best.”

At the Bell City Diner in Forestville, waitress Linda Llantin said indoor dining is “going very well.”

“It’s little by little, baby steps, but every day since Wednesday it’s getting better and better. The booths are marked with tape; one booth is to sit and the other not. The regulars are coming back and a lot of new people too. I won’t say we’re full but hopefully this weekend we will be.”

At CJ’s Diner in New Britain owner Sam Ince said she opened the doors on June 17 and business has been “slow but not too bad.”

“Most of my customers are my old customers, so they’re coming, but concerned” she said. “It’s only supposed to be for 50 percent and I don’t even do 50 because I don’t have enough space. I only do like 30 percent of it.”

At the Belvedere Café and Restaurant, in New Britain’s Little Poland, owner Ela Konferowicz said indoor dining “is good.”

“More people would rather sit outside on the patio because we have nice weather but hopefully day by day we will have more people inside. People are wearing masks and making reservations, so everybody is doing everything possible to make everything and everybody safe,” she said.

Just as not every customer is ready to go back to the way things were, not every restaurant owner is either.

Gus Ververis, owner of Capitol Lunch in New Britain, said he is sticking with takeout for now while debating whether to open for inside dining at half capacity.

“I’m not sure it’s going to work out with the way we have the flow of people and the tables,” he said. “I don’t even know if it’s gonna be worth it, especially in light of the fact that in three months or even less we might go back if the [coronavirus] spikes again. I’ve got a sneaking feeling this thing is going to come back with a vengeance.”

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Forestville on Friday, 19 June 2020 18:04. Updated: Friday, 19 June 2020 18:06.