Open For Business: Cousin Mario’s Italian Restaurant And Bar Goes Back To Basics

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By: SNJToday Staff

Photo credit: Cousin Mario’s Restaurant Facebook page.

Open For Business is a series about small businesses who are adopting unique and creative business practices to keep things going during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a business or know of one doing things differently, please send an email to johnson.dean.p@gmail.com.

MAYS LANDING, N.J. — When New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy closed restaurants to dine-in customers on March 16, Cousin Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Bar decided they would need to take things back to the beginning.

“Back to basics, that’s what it’s all about during this coronavirus for many small businesses,” said managing partner Joseph Giordano. “By the end of December, we had 23 employees and now we have two or three delivery people, a counter person, and my two brothers. There is no room for payroll.”

Cousin Mario’s first opened in Mays Landing in 1973 by Giordano’s father, Mario Giordano.

“Our family was introduced to the area by my cousin in 1973,” Giordano said. “He started telling everyone that his cousin Mario would open a restaurant.”

The name stuck.  Tucked in the back corner of a small strip mall, the family business was run by Mario and his sons.  They moved to their current location 12 years ago.

“We’ve been in business for 46 years, and now we find ourselves going back to basics,” Giordano said.  Basics are the three co-owner brothers making pizza.

Giordano feels confident the business will make it through the shut-down because they were prepared.

“Small businesses have lost at least 75% of all its income,” he said. “We have prepared for this for many years in the event that such a calamity would happen, so our debt ratio is very low and we feel that we can survive this pandemic, but it will take great sacrifice which the Giordano brothers are very used to.”

While Giordano says they are turning off lights and refrigerators, anything that will reduce utility bills, they are still giving back to help the community.

“We are giving a free large pizza to all nurses, doctors, first responders, and EMTs to thank them for their service to our community,” Giordano said. so 

The restaurant has given away over 70 large pizzas just over the past week, Giordano said.

Cousin Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Bar is located at 5401 Harding Hwy. Mays Landing and can be reached at (609) 625-2523.  They are open for take-out and delivery from 11:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Tuesday through Sunday.



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