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Owner hungry to reopen Angelina’s

  • Although it doesn’€™t look like it, Angelina’€™s Italian Restaurant is hoping to open by the first week of August. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Work on the Angelina’s Italian Restaurant continues and the hope it will be open in early August.

Monitor staff
Published: 8/2/2021 4:44:22 PM

Seven months ago, Rick Dennison was in the middle of a busy Christmas season when he got the call that his restaurant, Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano, had flooded.

Corey Fletcher, the owner of Revival upstairs, found evidence of burst pipes. The two restaurant owners went to check on Angelina’s below and found four feet of water.

Not to be defeated, Dennison spent the next couple of days cooking food out the nearby Cheers Bar and Grille, which volunteered space to him as a temporary measure, to finish orders. When Dennison wrapped up the holidays, he closed the business he had been the owner of for 23 years.

“You do the same thing every day and all of a sudden you are not doing it,” said Dennison. “What do I do now?”

He worked to repair and reopen the doors of Angelina’s, which he hopes will be able to welcome diners back in early August.

“I am looking forward to going back and doing my craft, you know making food it’s what I have done since I was a young person,” Dennison said. “It’s in my blood and who I am.”

As restaurants struggle with finding employees and supplies, Dennison is appreciative that Angelina’s will not be facing any staffing issues.

“I am very lucky, all of my staff that I had all want to come back, in the kitchen and in the front of the house,” Dennison said.

However, he says he worries the restaurant may suffer from supply issues.

“My vendors have contacted me and said that when I reopen, it is going to be a challenge getting a lot of the products that I got before,” Dennison said.

When Angelina’s reopens, the configuration of the dining room and kitchen will be changed.

“We have a little more space and a little more production area,” Dennison said. The reconfiguration should function much better than the previous setup.

Despite some changes, the menu will remain the same.

Revival, which shares the same building as Angelina’s, suffered less damage on their upper floor and already reopened after their repairs. Dennison said the two businesses have a great relationship.

“Revival has been my best neighbor that I have had in the 20-plus years that I have been here. We help each other out,” said Dennison. “We deal with the same issues, the same staffing issues the same customer issues, food issues.”

The water damage to the restaurant had been significant said, project manager Crystal Laliberte.

“Water is sticky and it found its way into the most important parts of the building and especially for Rick being the basement, it was a lot of infrastructure,” she said.

Water wreaked havoc on the electrical and mechanical devices in the basement, which required major repairs. But the water damage also gave them the opportunity to make upgrades to an old building, Laliberte said.

The flooding came during a pandemic that had already shifted how restaurants were working.

“Like everyone else we had to reinvent what we were doing and change the way we operated,” Dennison said. Angelina’s switched from a mainly seated restaurant to take-out, something they weren’t initially equipped for.

“It halved the amount of people we could have in the dining room,” said Dennison.

Outside dining will be available when the restaurant opens.

“I don’t know if (guests) are all entirely comfortable eating inside with other guests, so I think we will have that option for them,” Dennison said. The restaurant will also continue to offer take-out.

While Laliberte couldn’t give an official opening date yet, she said the restaurant would be opening as soon as possible.

“He has been closed for long enough. Concord needs him to reopen and we want him to reopen,” said Laliberte.

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