turning tables

restauranting in the time of covid

July 22, 2022

A Midsummer’s night dream or a Tale of Two Cities?

There is so much ground to cover and so little time. So as each day gets shorter, the countdown begins for the best and worst days of the year.

First, I must always count my blessings.

My daughter is on her way to a full recovery. Although the cause of the brain lesions remains unknown, she kills it on all healing fronts.

I have a supportive family, friends, and this extended UX family that go far beyond words and kindnesses. It is so hard to put my gratitude for the many folks who have shared stories and a genuine concern for my family’s welfare. It physically warms my heart.

The UX is busier than it’s ever been. We are doing an okay job keeping up. I’d give us a high 8 out of 10.

We have had to do away with reservations; even with a semi-full staff, things come up, people get sick, and people go on vacation- (a strange phenomenon, but I’m looking into it). So, we adjust and evolve. It’s just the way it is.

I adore my staff; they have been with me for years; I can’t, imagine-although I’m going to have come to grips with the fact that these brilliant young women and men are all leaving me a few at a time beginning mid-August. I need to hire people, and I have put it off, but I’m looking for a particular skill set. 

If you know people with the following attributes, please encourage them to apply. I want to start training new folks in the first week of August.

Aside from kitchen skills: knife, lifting heavy things, cleanliness, pride in work, and work ethic, prospective candidates must have:

A sense of humor-dark is okay and encouraged.

A passion and appreciation for kindness, humans, the outdoors, animals, sustainability, music, and the arts

Also, a strong understanding of supporting local farms and organizations and their significance. Highlighting what can be sourced locally means changing the menu on a dime which can be either a delightful challenge or a source of frustration for the wrong candidate.

APPLY HERE Serious applicants only, please.

 


new year new u (ux)

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Our new logo is an adaptation of the Trinacria, pronounced; trih-ney-kree-uh, the symbol of Sicily. When we traveled to Sicily back in 2019, the good ol’ days before covid-19 was not a word that anyone spoke. The symbol struck a meaningful chord with me when my family and I made a pilgrimage of sorts to visit the town where my paternal grandmother was born and raised, and throughout these two years, it’s grown to mean much more.  

Trinacria, UX.

The symbol of Sicily, known as the Trinacria, is derived from a myth about three nymphs. They have danced worldwide, gathering the best fruit, stones, and soil; they then threw all of it into the sea and created Sicily. The island has three corners that symbolize each foot of the nymphs. The symbol also encompasses fertility, and the abundance of fresh and flavorful is what we strive to bring you every day.  

I chose to adopt the symbol because I feel indebted to Italy, for most of our imported goods come from there. Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, and finally, the finest flour and semolina are what set our pizzas and pasta apart; these items paired with local eggs, cheeses, meats, and produce are what ensured that through the worst of times, my team and I were still churning out the best quality. 

 I’m so proud that we made it through the worst times with the simplicity of pizza and pasta. It’s not high-brow, but it is comforting deliciousness that sustained us and filled our bellies. Sicily, Italy is still the largest producer of pasta and wheat; the wheat then is ground into our imported silky 00 flour that we use daily to make our pizza.  

As a woman-owned business owner, I identify with the strength of Medusa. Covid can bash itself against our rock, and we’re not going anywhere.   

The Trinacria will be popping up all over the place, gracing my new small-batch sauces that are now available to pre-order online in the resurrected Pusateri’s Pantry section of our online ordering page; hats, bags, and tee-shirts will be coming soon too!  


Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange.
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Time away allows the pause to think about what is working and what’s not, and it also allows the opportunity to pause and plan a bit for the unknown. Some of the unpredictable has become a little predictable if that makes any sense. We know that there are shortages in products on all fronts, from imported products to glassware…the basics! We know there’s a staff shortage, but that’s nothing new for this time of year when all of my children, relatively young adults, return to their respected higher learning corners. 

It’s the real-scary-scary unknown that gets me bugging. Will my bustling dining room be deduced to an echo chamber again? Will I have to fight an online system that refuses to count pizzas?! I don’t know. I know that I can count on you all to be patient as we deal with the problems as they arrive. We will practice whatever it takes to do what we do best. 

Pairing down is inevitable for two reasons: 

  1. Burn out– I can’t continue the current pace with six fewer staff.
    2. Quality- it’s as essential to me as it was on day one. If I can’t do it right, I’m not going to do it at all. 

“We promise to offer a high standard of fresh & flavorful food made with seasonal, limited & local, high-quality ingredients, all at a reasonable price.​”

The promise remains I will just be tweaking the service a bit to take a little stress off the kitchen. Pizzas and pasta will stay the same; fewer “special” entrees, but beautiful and delicious platings. 

And for our small plates and appetizers, I’ve been reading some about the Italian form of tapas, called Cicchetti pronounced chuh*keh*tee. It is a variety of small dishes served in an unfussy way. I’m a sucker for the unfussy. So come one, come all. The sweet life remains up here on the hill. 

This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
Song by Talking Heads – The song that got us through this year <3 –

Our first week back was so successful; I am so grateful to see many familiar faces! It was like a 1000-pound weight lifted off my shoulders.  

Many of you stopped to chat with me to offer encouragement and compliments to my team. There are not enough words to express how far a few nice words go. We have been through a lot together, and when you go from a staff of 20 to 7, everyone feels it. 

To the many, many newcomers! Welcome to the UXLOCALE! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about how you found us and feedback on the overall UX experience. It is special up here on the hill, and we look forward to seeing you regularly!

Closing the dining room was the only way to get us through the winter, and we made it! There will be more bumps in the road for various reasons; we will be short-staffed through April into Mid-May, some of that I expected, and some I did not, but we will roll with it, and we’re asking you to do the same. 

Change is a constant that I have found; I can live with it once I accept it. I ask myself and the team, what are we going to do? There’s no crying in restaurants! Then I immediately say, how do we fix this? And we usually do, it may not be perfect, but we’re trying. Plus, the UX is my other Home, and I’m not ready to run away. Yes, it is a business, but as one of our newcomers pointed out, “When I looked at your website, I saw how personal this place is.” It is a home; it is a family, some related, and some “guilty by association” tee hee. 

Saturday Night, April 10, was so much fun. We had two servers for the entire restaurant, so we decided to have people order at the window and the bar, and we ran food out as it was ready. Here’s to hoping everyone is as great as the folks who came out this night because that’s how we will do it for a while until fully staffed. Thank you to everyone that rolled with it. While we were making the changes to the inside, I played This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) pretty much on repeat; it’s the soundtrack to my love for the UXFAM. 

“Home is where I want to be

Pick me up and turn me round

I feel numb, burn with a weak heart

I guess I must be having fun

The less we say about it, the better

Make it up as we go along

Feet on the ground

Head in the sky

It’s okay. I know nothing’s wrong… nothing’s wrong

Hi-yo, I got plenty of time.

Hi-yo, you got light in your eyes

And you’re standing here beside me

I love the passing of time

Never for money

Always for love” -The Talking Heads

Regarding rolling with the changes, the dining room remodel and additional equipment, deli case, and freezer stemmed from necessity to meet the demand for what started as an increase in takeout to a total takeout takeover! I had to give up my pantry to open the window and expedite the takeout area with warmers and coolers. So Pusateri’s Pantry stemmed from that. I got my retail permit moved all dry specialty items to the front of the house, and now they are available to you.

The ungodly amount of sanitizers we used last year ruined all of the finished furniture, so we refinished all of the tables, and the bar, wrapped in plexiglass. Still, we created a unique shelving unit that houses many more wine glasses.  

And with many more wine glasses comes Wine Tastings this Summer! All the changes made are in anticipation of improving what we do and offering more of what you come for! Great food, wine, craft beers, and The Sweet Life! 

Now that the groundwork is complete, the dining areas are safe and sanitary; the focus shifts back to the main reason I started this, THE FOOD.

I will revisit my favorite childhood dishes and recreate everything I ate on our Italy tour in 2019. I am working hard to feature more local products, from produce to meats to mushrooms! In addition, wine and beer tastings will happen twice a month, starting in Late May-early June! 

I most likely will not be posting anything for a while! However, I’ve got menus, events, and music to plan, so please stay tuned by checking in on Instagram and Facebook.

Last but not least, I could not have got this place up to snuff without:

-My crew –not only prep food, but chop wood, sand, and paint, scour and clean. 

-My husband, who ‘affectionately’ describes the UX as “Maggie’s Farm, “Bob Dylan’s song. His almost free-willingness to help out is admirable, AND he has only asked for a divorce once this year, so I think we’ll be okay.

-My daughter Antonia still comes in every weekend after working a 60 hour week to lend a hand anywhere she’s needed.

-My son @failtewoodworks for lending his tools and expertise on all things wood and beer. 🙂

-Billy @bill_o_builds –Billy will first listen to what I’m looking for and magically builds it based on terrible drawings and inaccurate measurements, consistently exceeding my expectations. 

-Queen Jeena! @reduce_reuse_redecorate who SEES the forest for the trees

Jeena helped create a beautiful space without a budget that is not unlimited, I mean literally, with ZERO added dollars. Jeena reworked what we had into a beautiful, functional space devoid of clutter and excess. Magically we have just one less table than before the madness, and everything is spaced in keeping with social distancing guidelines. 

THANK YOU to the Uxbridge board of health for making it possible to get myself and the staff vaccinated! 

#betterthanbefore
#embracechange
#weareback
#getbywithalittlehelpfrommyfriends
#covid?_never_heard_of_it