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The Trinity Hotel Handles Covid-19

By Miranda Stroble

Local restaurants are making a comeback, and it is time for our community to come back to supporting them. Many of our local dine-in restaurants were not functionally able to sustain their businesses with only carryout service, so they decided to fully close their doors. In the last couple of weeks, the community has seen many of those restaurants reopening due to funds being provided by the Paycheck Protection Program and assistance from local banks. One of the businesses that has reopened its doors is the restaurant in The Trinity Hotel.

“We shut down because we just could not afford to stay open,” said Dale Balzano, owner of The Trinity Hotel and Balzano Vineyard and Winery along with his wife, Janie. “There was no way. With to go’s it just wasn’t feasible for our type of restaurant. We’ve never been a to go restaurant. We reopened when we received some of the PPP money through out local bank. Then we went ahead and decided to open up the to go window. We were getting extra money from the program to help pay our wages. We made the choice. Our employees wanted to do it, so here we are.”

“The local banks have really stepped up and helped a lot of businesses get back open.,” Balzano continued. “The shutdown was so sudden that I think it caught a lot of businesses off guard. I know it did for us. You still have bills coming in and all of a sudden you have no income. It was a drastic change. Our business has been in expansion mode for the last 2 years, and so it really caught us off guard. We had 41 employees when we shut down. A lot of families really depend on our business.”

The Balzanos and their staff have made some significant changes to their business to try to keep their businesses open and their employees employed. “We have had to realign ourselves and set up for carryout,” shared Balzano, “and that’s what we’ve done. It’s been quite successful. We appreciate the support of the local community. We’ve scaled our menu back. I think a lot of people got tired of burgers, tacos, and pizza and wanted some different food. Our Italian food is quite good. We are doing casserole style meals out at the Balzano Vineyard and Winery. They take orders on the phone or the website.”

With many of our local restaurants temporarily able to reopen their businesses, please be sure to support them during this time if you are able. Balzano had an interesting insight to share: “My wife is on the New Mexico Restaurant Association board. There are 3500 restaurants in New Mexico. Last week 1020 said they are probably not going to reopen, and another 1000 are saying it is questionable whether they are going to reopen. A lot of businesses aren’t going to come back. When we do open up, we’re not going to come back to the numbers we had before. We have to face reality. We will be lucky to do 45-50% of what we were doing. That’s going to be hard to survive. That’s why I’m questioning whether we can fully reopen or not. Everybody is just trying to make ends meet and keep our employees. A lot of people depend on paychecks from the restaurant business.”

“Plus, look at all of the food we buy from all of the suppliers, too. It has affected them drastically. There is a whole chain of events that are happening because restaurants are closed. I would like to thank the locals for supporting all of the restaurants in town, because all of us are struggling.”

If we want to keep our special local businesses in business it is important that the locals of Carlsbad are showing their support. Find the ways you can to still purchase goods and services from your favorite local places. Maybe tonight that support will in turn give you a plate full of delicious Italian food and the perfect bottle of wine.

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