Occasionally the previous restaurant is mentioned by people around town. The previous occupants worked for decades serving many in the community from a restaurant right in the middle of the village. For good or bad, everyone seems to have an opinion about the restaurant. We have a lot of great customers who are regulars, some of them used to love the old establishment, and to be fair, some didn’t. To be absolutely clear, there have been a few occupants of the restaurant over the past 60 or so years, and sometimes people will pose the question/make the comment regarding the most recent establishment “the previous owners did it, why can’t you?” when referring to why we won’t work 7 days per week at the restaurant; which is funny, considering none of the past occupants were open 7 days per week!
First, we have the old menu and schedule of the most recent restaurant, and it was not open 7 days per week. I’m not sure where people got that notion... The previous restaurant was open 5 days per week, with regular hours not much different than our own, so that’s why the question/comment boggles our minds so much… Ultimately, people are all outsiders looking in, whether they know us or previous occupants, nobody knows the amount of work we have had to do to this property or what we went through getting this place up to our standards to be operational. We have worked hard to get things done, and we have worked as many hours as we can since opening in August of 2021.
There were so many things that needed to be done, every certification, inspection, etc. that we have done just to get this place up to code so it could be operational. We had to get many inspections and approvals that had previously been grandfathered in. So there was a lot of work and the fact is, this place was not up to the health code when we had purchased the place. The bathrooms didn't even have windows, or rather, the windows were rotted out with plexiglass screwed over the rotted windows which was filled with wasps nests. Feel free to check out our photo gallery as we are now starting to add some before and after photos. There was thick grease over almost every inch of the restaurant, and we had to replace thousands of dollars worth of refrigerators, prep stations, freezers, fryers, and griddles. Every time we thought we could remain open, we had to close for another repair or to replace another piece of equipment. We couldn’t just open and do it like anyone had done it before; we wanted to take care of these issues and we wanted to give the place a fresh perspective, while retaining some of the character that we loved about the old place. So while the previous occupants might be great, that doesn't mean the property was in great shape to be open.
Things are not as easy as you make them out in your head. It’s not as easy as just “do it the way they did it!” Plus, I would never be so bold to tell someone what to do or how to do things, especially to someone I don't know, about things I know nothing about. There is always more to the story that isn't always obvious to the average person. I hear far more often that this place was rarely open, or people never knew when it would be open long before we owned it. I hear people complain about all sorts of things about the old place, including the fact that there was no AC, it was always hot and stuffy in the summer, etc. the place smelled like cigarettes, etc. People on all sides complain, while ignoring the fact that most of the things they complain about have been rectified and neither side understands all the complexities of what either the new, or previous owners, had to deal with.
One thing I hope some of you can learn to understand is that not everything is handed down, or rather, not everyone gets what they have by having it handed down to them. We have had to work hard to make this place what it is now, just as the previous owners did before us. We had to meet all the various codes and certifications and spend lots of money to get this place opened. It doesn’t benefit us to spend money and be open fewer hours. Think about that, why would we want to spend all that money to open a restaurant to only open 24 or 36 hours per week? We’d love to be open for more hours! We want to be open more hours so we can earn more of our hard-earned money back, naturally, but it’s not as simple as some may believe. I’m not sure if it’s people just being entitled and having things given to them or having the constant need to be served, I’m honestly not sure what makes people make assumptions without really thinking about what one would go through, or putting oneself in someone’s shoes and trying to understand. Whether one is talking about us, or previous occupants, it’s not as easy as you think it is.
Further, when it comes to the amount of hours we have been open since opening, a small handful of people have made comments to us that “they did it on their own for years, you should too!” Yes, they were also younger than us when they purchased the place and did it to the point they could not do it any more; hence the signs that the restaurant was for sale on Google Maps the previous 12 years or so prior to us occupying the space. We have young children, so there’s that. Plus, we were warned about how much time was spent at the restaurant that they would have preferred spending with their children, so, we took heed to their warning and accepted that advice. Also, we had to rehab a home at the same time as all this, so we did not have the ability to open a restaurant full time and once we have enough employees, it will make it easier to add additional hours, like every other restaurant struggling with hiring right now is doing.
Lastly, just to make sure it's known, it wasn't out of laziness of not opening when we first occupied this place. It wasn't being lazy pushing a big grand opening on August 13th, 2021, to close the very next day... Why would anyone want to do that? It wasn't lazy doing curbside for the 4 months we were doing that for dinner. Nor were we lazy for only opening 6 hours per day, 6 days per week in April, eventually dropping down to 4 days per week in May. In fact, when I pointed out that we had been open 6 days per week, 6 hours per day, plus cleaning, etc, leaving us here about 8-10 hours per day, someone made the same comment, which quite honestly, I find a bit shortsighted, and maybe even petty; that it still wasn’t enough hours for us to be open and we should be open as much as the previous owners were, which again, is a bit confusing to hear... considering most of the locals tell us they were often closed on a whim, off on vacation, etc; which I could totally understand; neither they, nor we, are required to be open to serve you on your time. When we are ill, tired, or simply want a break, we have a right to not be open, and obviously, when we are not open, we won’t get your business. So the fact that people sometimes have stated it almost like a command on how we should be, is beyond simply a rude comment. There is quite a bit of entitlement, and some of these comments have been a little overboard in my opinion, demonstrating that they didn’t really know the previous owners, and were creating an almost delusional “good ol’ days' scenario in their head that never really existed.
Furthermore, the previous owners made it clear to us that they were tired, and warned us multiple times that we should find good people to work at the restaurant or we would run ourselves to the ground. So, we took their advice and are waiting until we had a full staff so we could actually open more than 40 hours per week.
As of the first week of June, we are open 6 hours per day, 4 days per week; 1 day less, and a total of 10 fewer hours than the previous restaurant. So this notion that we are somehow open dramatically fewer hours is preposterous. Plus, starting this weekend (Motorcycle week), we will be open more hours as we have more employees and soon hope to be open 10 hours per day, 7 days per week, something none of the previous occupants did in the past.60+ years.
So, while I’m sure some of my frustration is displayed here, so is my dedication and honesty, so I hope instead of whining about how much we are not open, you appreciate that you have people in your community that made an existing place a little nicer, and makes great food, plays great music (and pays royalties), has a fun place to hang out, equipped with a Pac-Man arcade unit, and has a lot to offer this town. While I know 95% of you reading this already know this, there are a handful that still feel the need to bring up these same few comments, leading to this incredibly long post.
TLDR: Stop making unrealistic comparisons with previous occupants and enjoy what Anika's Pizza brings to Moultonborough and the Lake Winnipesaukee area.
"The employees of the year, yeah, we're back to work..."