turning tables

restauranting in the time of covid

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, rather 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 simply 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 put into 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 plates that are 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 so 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; once I accept it, I can live with 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 ok. 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 area 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 in the last year ruined all of the finished furniture, so we refinished all of the tables, and the bar, wrapped in plexiglass. Still, we managed to create 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 be re-visiting my favorite childhood dishes and recreating everything I ate on our Italy tour in 2019. I am working hard to feature more local products, from produce to meats to mushrooms! 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! 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 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!