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Cafe continues serving hungry patrons amid COVID-19 restrictions

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Maria Mumford, co-owner of Nicolozakes Cafe, prepares food orders Friday afternoon at the eatery in St. Clairsville.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Although the state’s health department has implemented strict restrictions among bars and restaurants across the state due to concerns pertaining to the coronavirus, some have managed to continue serving local residents during this trying time.

Nicolozakes Cafe along Ohio 9 outside of St. Clairsville is among those attempting to remain open. Maria Mumford and her brother, Mike Butler, cafe co-owners, said beginning Monday they were forced to close their doors; however they are making d0. The pair said they remain open for carryout and delivery of both food and beer — for the time being.

The family-owned business is one of the few places left open in the area that continues to sell food and provide food to hungry residents.

“We’re playing it by ear. We’ve never been in this situation before,” Mumford said.

The eatery has been in their family for the past 65 years and was previously open to the public seven days a week.

“As long as the government lets us stay open, we’ll be open,” she said.

In order to adapt to newly implemented regulations, the eatery is offering its patrons pick-up and delivery services. Longtime patron Kathy Walker went to the cafe Friday to pick up her carryout order of fish and fries.

“We’re glad we’re still able to carry out food and beer,” she said. “We want to support our favorite bar.”

Customers are not only thrilled the eatery is still cooking and selling food, but they also want to support the watering hole that has been a staple in the community for more than a half of a century.

Mumford said people miss being able to come together.

“What people miss is not the drinking, they miss interacting and socializing with each other,” she said.

Butler said the bar’s sales have dropped by 75 percent since Gov. Mike DeWine’s order came to fruition, shutting down all local restaurants and bars. The pair were forced to temporarily lay off all of the restaurant’s employees for the time being and work it themselves in two split shifts.

Mumford said she takes her temperature every day prior to going in to work for the day and continuously sanitizes everything in the cafe from top to bottom.

Although the closing has been difficult on small local businesses, the cafe owner’s said they remain positive. Nicolozakes will still continue to sell Coleman’s fish as always on Fridays. The business was kept steadily busy this Friday afternoon as it remains one of very few left providing the entree.

“We’re the third generation running this place. God always has the final say,” Butler said.

For more information or to view daily updates, visit the cafe’s Facebook page. The eatery opens daily at 11 a.m. Monday through Sunday. To place an order, call 740-695-3235.

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