Staffing difficulties, quality concerns and sleepy drunk patrons are some of the reasons Allegro Pizza and Grill is no longer open 24/7.
The popular 40th Street pizzeria now shuts its doors at midnight from Sunday to Wednesday, and 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The restaurant had been open 24/7 until around two months ago, when it first established its new closing times.
Maria Francisci, a waitress at Allegro, said her managers had problems with staffing a restaurant that was open all night.
“I think the issue, which I’ve been told, is trying to staff it from really, really early in the morning. I’d say like past 4 a.m., to like 9 in the morning was a nightmare,” Francisci said. “And a lot of the managers were working overnight a lot, and they couldn’t keep up with it because they have so many shifts to begin with, and a lot of people refuse to work overnight. So we could just not staff [the restaurant].”
Manager Louie Kosmatos added that concerns about quality forced Allegro to close earlier.
“Overnight, it’s a little bit harder for someone to concentrate, because they tend to be a little more tired,” Kosmatos said. “So the quality won’t be equal between when you’re ordering a sandwich at 12:00 p.m, say for lunch, or at 10:00 p.m. for dinner, and when you’re going to order something at 3:00 in the morning, especially when it’s very busy when the bars close.”
Liability was a factor as well. Kosmatos worried that “there’s a lot of extraordinary things that could be going on late at night,” which would put his staff and business at risk.
He also reported that the restaurant often lost money when patrons fell asleep after ordering late-night deliveries.
“A lot of times we take deliveries, people will call around 1:30, 2:00 in the morning, and they will be drunk, usually, and we’ll make the food delivery and [the customer] would fall asleep, and we’d try numerous times to get a hold of them, but then would have to come back with the food,” Kosmatos said. “So we’re losing time, we’re losing money and it’s not good.”
Still, some students aren’t happy about Allegro’s new hours.
In an interview with 34th Street Magazine last week, College senior Sophie Beren recalled how she and her friends “were extremely devastated” when they first heard that Allegro would no longer be open all night.
“My roommates and I were literally crying,” Beren said.
College sophomore Sinziana Bunea also ate at Allegro regularly before the change. She says the restaurant’s new schedule has already impacted her daily routine.
“I’m pretty upset, because I live like a block from Allegro’s and it’s always been kind of my go-to, even on regular nights, not just on weekends,” Bunea said. “And at the beginning of the week I was going to get some food, and they were closing down and had like, only five slices of pizza left and it’s not even 12:00 yet.”
Bunea also sees the restaurant as a place for social gatherings, and worries that status might be affected by shorter hours.
“I feel like it’s also a social outlet, it’s a good place to like say hi to people, so I feel like it’s pretty horrible they’re closing it at 4:00,"
Deputy News Editor Sarah Fortinsky contributed reporting for this story.
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