Un Amore in Five Corners By Un Amore
ST. CROIX — Un Amore, the popular Italian restaurant located at Five Corners just outside of the historic town of Christiansted, on Monday announced plans to close as a result of a dramatic decrease in business due to Covid-19-related restrictions and guidelines.
According to the release, the restaurant — which opened in January 2016 — will close on Sunday, June 28, 2020.
Owners Katherine and Frank Pugliese explained that while revenues dropped, expenses including rent, electricity and water did not decrease. “Restaurants run on a razor-thin margin, “ stated Frank Pugliese, the chef and partner at Un Amore, “Our food quality (costs) is high, we have a lot of staff, and our space is air-conditioned. Those factors make success a constant effort on any given day, but during Covid-19 restrictions, it makes it an uphill battle.” Although the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan covered being able to keep and maintain most of the staff during the whole period, the funds have been depleted. While the family-owned business made many changes to adapt, the business model is not sustainable, the release said.
On May 25, the VI government allowed restaurants to open at 50% capacity, at which point Un Amore started seating outside and a week later 50% inside. “We were so thrilled to welcome back customers,” says Katherine Pugliese, “although wearing masks, gloves and avoiding contact has been difficult because our service is very personal, friendly and engaging. This new way, even though temporary, is very distant and not representative of true hospitality. It took a vital part of what we love about the restaurant business away.”
Chef and owners Frank and Katherine Pugliese
“I think the hardest part for me is my employees, they are family, some we have worked with over the span of 20 years through multiple restaurants,” says Katherine Pugliese, who has successfully launched more than four restaurants with her husband on the island and was a co-founder of Taste of St. Croix, a local food and wine event that gained international recognition and raised funds for local non-profit organizations.
According to the release, Un Amore has about a dozen team members who all have been well trained in their respective areas and have a great work ethic. Team members have been active supporters of Reef Responsible, the St. Croix Animal Shelter; and numerous community events. Employers looking to hire any team members are invited to reach out to Katherine or stop by the restaurant before June 28, to learn more about team members seeking new jobs.
A restaurant closing impacts numerous people in the community including farmers, fishermen, plumbers, and many more vendors. The Puglieses said they are happy to share their vendor contacts with others in the community. Simply stop by the restaurant before June 28 or send a message via their Facebook page.
For the next two weeks, Un Amore will be offering full dinner service, to go and delivery following the Covid-19 guidelines and restrictions. “We ask our loyal patrons to please come in for great food, wine and for the wonderful friendships we have shared over the years,” Katherine said.
Un Amore is open from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Visit UnAmoreSTX.com for information. Specials and up-to-date information are available on their Facebook page @UnAmoreSTX. Reservations can be made by calling 340-692-9922.