Real Deal: NJ restaurants bounce back after pandemic, look ahead to busy summer

Old Glory in Keyport is like a lot of mom-and-pop restaurants across New Jersey – they are expecting a big bounce back this summer after the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Jun 16, 2023, 11:51 AM

Updated 365 days ago

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If you're looking for an all-American dining experience with a New Jersey twist to celebrate Father’s Day weekend, then Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits in Keyport is the place to visit.
Old Glory is like a lot of mom-and-pop restaurants across New Jersey – they are expecting a big bounce back this summer after the pandemic.
Nestled under the steeple of the Old Trinity Church built in 1879, Old Glory is a snapshot of old New Jersey Americana. The restaurant is known as “Keyport's tribute to America and patriotism."
General manager John Arout says reservations at Old Glory are bouncing back as they prepare for their sixth summer season.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected in-store dining negatively, but takeout surged. The number of seated diners is swinging in the right direction entering the summer months. It’s down 5% in April but up 2% in May. Analysts are optimistic about a robust summer restaurant season because hiring is up.
"Restaurant hiring remains pretty robust. It grew 6.1% in the month of April. That's about 124,000 jobs just in the restaurant business in New Jersey. That's about where we were in 2019," says Caleb Silver of Investopedia.
Arout says Old Glory hired for the summer months ago. An extra 20 local employees joined the restaurant, bringing the total number of employees to 85.
"Everybody who is employed here is local or is within 10 miles from here. And hiring over the past few years had been very tough," Arout says. "I think we're going to be busy."
Arout says the fear of working that a lot of people had during the pandemic is now a thing of the past.


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