After a memorial gathering at Trysting Place Pub on Sept. 28 for his father who died in July from COVID-19 in Florida, Menomonee Falls business owner Sal Zizzo announced the next day that the pub has permanently closed.
All because of COVID-19, Zizzo said in an interview.
Zizzo owned and operated Trysting Place Pub, currently at N71 W12980 Appleton Ave., for 35 years.
He said that especially on weekends, the place would be packed and people would be lined up to get in.
But not since the pandemic hit in March.
After Gov. Tony Evers ordered bars and restaurants to shut down beginning at 5 p.m. March 17, Trysting Pub’s business fell to 15% of normal, only offering curbside pickup, Zizzo said.
The pub reopened May 28; by the end of September, business had climbed to just 45% of what it had been before March 17, Zizzo said.
The pub moved out half of its 44 tables to maintain social distancing, once it was allowed to reopen. But even those were not all filled.
“We can’t operate on that and pay our bills,” Zizzo said.
He noted that the patio helped business over the summer — but that won’t help in the winter, which is fast approaching.
He said it would be different if he saw an end in sight.
“But I don’t,” he said.
“Navigating a pandemic for the past six months has proven impossible,” he wrote on his business’ Facebook page.
Owner asks community two favors
Zizzo did not mince words about his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic: “The politicians should have found a way to control this,” he wrote.
On his business Facebook page, he asked people for two favors: to vote out politicians who mismanaged the pandemic and left work to go on vacation rather than pass a second stimulus plan, and to patronize and support locally owned and operated small businesses.
“They desperately need your help,” he wrote.
In an interview, Zizzo said that while the safer-at-home order was in effect between March 25 and May 13, elected officials should have found a way to control the pandemic.
“We should not have had to go through this,” he said. “Other countries like Italy were able to control it (the pandemic).”
But in Wisconsin, the number of cases are going up even now, months later.
“People are still afraid to go out,” said Zizzo.
He said a second stimulus should have been provided after the safer-at-home order was lifted.
Business owners like himself are left pondering whether they need to dip into their retirement savings and for how long they needed to.
Zizzo said that in the next two weeks, he will preparing a rummage sale to sell all furniture, fixtures, equipment, dishes, glassware, televisions, beer signs, neon wall art and everything down to the bare walls of the business.
“I will miss seeing all of our loyal customers that have become close friends and I hope to see you around town helping support those that manage to stay afloat during this trying time,” Zizzo wrote on Facebook.