Morris Co. family restaurant set back by pandemic gets grant

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MORRIS COUNTY, NJ —Rosie’s Trattoria in Randolph, like many other small businesses, has struggled during the pandemic, but the longtime establishment recently received some good news. Morris County officials presented the restaurant owner with a check for $15,000 through the county’s small business grant program.

Rosie Inchiappa and her husband Giuseppe have run Rosie’s Trattoria since 2005. During the state’s coronavirus shutdown, Randolph’s restaurant, like all restaurants in New Jersey, has had to learn to be creative, flexible and work long hours.

The restaurant’s struggle to stay open during and after the pandemic illustrates what New Jersey’s entire restaurant industry endured, with many not surviving, officials said.

“Our customers, they kept coming and we couldn’t have done it without them. It’s a family restaurant, we’ve always been a family restaurant and we’re very grateful for that,” Inchiappa said.

The pandemic hit as Rosie’s, located on Sussex Turnpike in Randolph, was in the process of remodeling and expanding. When the lockdown orders were finally lifted, the restaurant quickly adapted with a take-out business and an expanded outdoor seating area.

The cost of doing business continues to rise, and the restaurant was eligible for the full $15,000 grant under the Morris County Small Business Grant Program.

“This city was very supportive, everyone was supportive,” Giuseppe said.

Rosie’s has been bringing Sicilian and Neapolitan cuisine to the greater Morris County community for over 11 years. While Rosie brings her name and bubbly personality to the front of the house, Giuseppe serves as head chef, according to the restaurant’s website.

Pasta dishes on the menu include Calamari Fra Diavolo, sautéed squid in a spicy garlic and plum tomato sauce over linguini and homemade fettuccine with Alfredo sauce. Rosie’s also offers a wide variety of protein options such as chicken, seafood and beef.

Morris County Commissioners have committed $10 million in federal funding to its Small Business Grant Program, which will help small businesses and nonprofits recover from the setbacks of the pandemic.

Funding comes from the county’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds. The county continues to review applications, but the program remains open to new applications at no cost. Click here for more information.

Small Business Grant Program eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • The company has 25 full-time employees or less (or the equivalent)
  • In operation since January 1, 2019
  • Located in Morris County
  • Less than $5 million in sales/income
  • Evidence of a drop in sales/increase in expenses due to the pandemic

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