By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
The Glens Falls restaurant Radici Kitchen+Bar on Ridge Street has closed to take a three-week “pause.” They expect to reopen Thursday, September 16.
“We decided we needed a mental health vacation. Not only ourselves, but especially for the staff, too,” chef-owner Brian Bowden told The Chronicle. “We can see it in everyone’s faces. We are cognizant of people needing time off.”
Especially challenging, he says, “We’re working at probably just 20 percent of the staff we really need.”
“We had three staff members on vacation, we want to be accommodating to what they need. We lost a couple of front of house people, one to a job in retail….
“It was not an easy decision. I think there is a mental health pandemic also — all the fallout from the year prior. We’ve all put our hearts and soul into it, for sure, but that’s taken its toll on everyone — front of house, kitchen, dishwasher.”
He says, “We finally made the decision to give it a little pause. Initially we thought we’d close around Labor Day for two weeks,” but given the staff situation, he says they decided to shut down right away.
“We’ll be fine,” Mr. Bowden adds. “We have an established reputation and a great team.”
Mr. Bowden and life partner Carly Mankouski opened Radici in January 2020 — just before the Covid pandemic first hit and only a couple of months before the shutdowns of early March hit last year.
“Since we opened, we haven’t operated in normal circumstances,” Mr. Bowden says.
“We’ve had a lot of success, but it’s been unusual. We shut down in March 2020, went to take-out, with just me and Carly working, until the summer. We closed again in January 2021 when it started to get bad again, reopened in February and we’ve been busy since then, all-out.
“Initially we were seven days a week. Then we went to five days.”
Mr. Bowden said, “The phone starts ringing at 8 a.m. and it doesn’t stop. We’re maxed out every night. We’ve been steadily busy, and we have a lot of off-premises work as well. Everyone is making good money, but to see them burned out like that…
“Carly’s been in the front of house and also she’s been in the kitchen, working on the line. Since February it’s been non-stop with little staff.”
“We don’t want to sacrifice the dining experience for anyone. We will take the time we haven’t been able to, the menu was getting a little stale and we want to make some changes. We thought, we’d take the time now, before our son goes back to school, to get him settled.”
In September, when enhanced unemployment benefits time out, Mr. Bowden says, “We hope there will be more people out there to work — or we will find a way to restructure the dining experience briefly.”
He says, “Are we still looking for more staff? Yes!” His message: “We offer pretty high wages and we’re respectful of the need for time off, and paid vacations.”
He said they’ll continue to pay some of the staff during this time off.
Mr. Bowden says that when he called to notify customers with reservations during the time Radici will be closed, “A lot of people were upset, but not mad.
“I had one woman, she’s a nurse, she was upset we can’t get staff. She said, ‘I’ll work for you.’ She gets off at 4 and she offered she could come in at 4:30.”
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