NEW BRITAIN -- With no clear answer as to when Central Connecticut State University will get back to full on-campus operations, the owner of Tony’s Central Pizza -- which is located in a plaza adjacent to the school and generally very popular with students -- is left wondering when his business will get back to normal.
“It’s all right,” Anthony Antonaras, the owner of Tony’s Central Pizza, said of business these days. “It’s not like it used to be.”
The pizza parlor Antonaras owns, which is located at 1523 Stanley St., relies heavily on the traffic that its neighbor, CCSU, typically generates.
“With the school you’ve got the students, the teachers, professors,” he said.
But the coronavirus pandemic has changed the university’s operations drastically. The school in the spring was forced to move to online classes to help stop the spread of the virus, and the most recent plans laid out by the administration indicate classes in the fall will be delivered with a model of 35% “on-ground” and 65% online.
“It’s going to be slow for a while,” Antonaras said.
Tony’s Central Pizza would normally have seating for 55 to 60 people, but with guidelines that call for tables to be distanced 6 feet apart, it doesn’t leave much space. The restaurant has four to five tables set up for outdoor dining, and staff there work diligently between seatings to make sure everything is sanitized before another customer.
“Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it picks up a little bit,” Antonaras said.
Early on during the pandemic, the restaurant was getting a good amount of business through take-out. But now that many area restaurants have opened up for indoor and outdoor dining, Antonaras said, things have slowed down.
“I could have closed up, but I have a lot of people who rely on us,” Antonaras said.
“Considering the way things have been going, we’re doing pretty good businesswise,” he said. “We’re just staying afloat.”
Tony’s Central Pizza offers daily specials to include soup specials, lunch specials and dinner specials. For more information, call 860-225-5625 or visit the restaurant’s website at TonysCentralPizza.com.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.