Local Business Update: Gigino Trattoria

There hasn’t been much good news for the city’s restaurants in the past 10 weeks, but if you want to find some, it’s worth stopping by Gigino. Julia Barker, the special events manager and the wife of the longtime executive chef, Luigi Celentano, is somehow able to make it seem like the world is not so bleak.

She first delivers the good news: Gigino, which has been open nearly this whole time on Greenwich Street, has reopened its satellite at Wagner Park as well. Plus they have extended their hours here in Tribeca this week to include lunch and are now open from noon till 8:45. They are offering their regular takeout menu, available as always on paper if you walk by or online (which sadly does not include the special that I often find myself daydreaming about: sauteed purple kale with pine nuts).

The guys in the kitchen are still being creative, she said, and maybe more so than ever given the unpredictability of the business.

“And the good thing is people are calling and we are keeping in touch,” Julia said. “We have had a great response from our customers — the loyal ones who have their favorite items still call and they understand what we are trying to do.”

But of course it’s not all that easy. Between the two restaurants they employed 60 people; now they are trying to keep 10 to 15 busy since they are operating with 20 percent of revenues. “We are juggling a little bit but we are able to keep the lights on,” she said.

And how long can the juggle continue? Those are the big questions for restaurant owners. When will it end? How can they expand some offerings in the meantime? Can they use the outside area to at least seat a few people? At Wagner there’s a natural picnic area, so in a way Gigino there is back to its roots: when the restaurant opened there in 1999 (Greenwich Street opened in 1995) it was just counter service.

So for now they are just doing what they are doing, and trying to wait it out.

“We haven’t made a huge contingency plan except for hope,” said Julia. “Hope and experience that will help us be able to navigate the requirements. We are trying to stay positive and flexible and adjust where we can. Our staff has been great, they are very understanding and proactive and have come up with some ideas. We made the decision that we would try to get through it this way, and that’s what we are doing.”

PRO TIP: It’s better to call and order¬†— 212-431-1112 — but the second best thing is to go to the website and navigate from there to the third party ordering app. The restaurant pays a reduced fee if you direct your traffic that way.