Originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
At Vecchia Osteria in Newtown, Bucks County, oversized Christmas balls hang from the ceiling and lighted garland frames each entry way. Dozens of tables sit empty, waiting for customers who won’t be coming. The only signs that the business is still open are three large, brown takeout bags under a framed portrait of actress Sophia Loren.
Owners Pasquale and Anna Palino and their young children immigrated from Italy in 1999. After a decade working the kitchens of Italian restaurants around Philadelphia, Pasquale opened Vecchia. Today, all five children, along with their two sons-in-law, work the business seven days a week. Earlier this year, they managed to survive the first round of Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 lockdowns. But the governor’s latest litany of restrictions—including a three-week indoor dining ban during the industry’s busiest time of year—threatens to destroy the American dream they spent a lifetime building.
“We are losing money every single day,” says Anna, a breast cancer survivor. The eatery, she points out, has lost not only regular, dine-in customers, but also income from holiday parties, catering, and gift cards sales that make the holiday season especially important for restaurants. The Palinos want…
Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer.