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Expansion and rebranding: Carolina Beach businesses adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The pandemic has caused lots of things to change, causing businesses to think outside the box and rethinking what their businesses are and have the potential to be.

“We turn all the music off and turn all the televisions on and watch the governor’s press conferences and sit there with our fingers crossed hoping the restrictions aren’t getting any tighter on us, but we’re just kinda having to roll with the punches at this point,” The Dive Bar and Grill Kitchen Manager David Palmieri said.

Governor Roy Cooper’s latest executive order calls for businesses to not allow indoor dining after 10 p.m., with alcohol sales ending at 9 p.m.

“We’re already capped at 50% capacity and now we’ve lost the five most financially productive hours of our operation,” Palmieri said.

Places like The Dive Bar and Grill in Carolina Beach are trying to pivot.

“This coming weekend we’ll start doing breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays,” Palmieri said. “Not just to generate sales for the restaurant, but also I’m trying to generate hours for my staff so I can keep everyone employed.”

Saturday marking the first for The Dive, but a last for another island favorite — Surf House.

“We’re going to be changing the model to a more casual service environment,” Owner Craig Love said. “It’ll still be very high quality food but it’ll be based on craft cocktails and modern calabash.”

Surf House’s current menu will be offered for the last time on Saturday. The high-end restaurant is rebranding into a more casual one called Coast.

Feeling the pressure of COVID-19, Love is looking to adapt to a new environment.

“Over the last 10 months we’ve been trying to evaluate our business model and trying to understand the impacts on restrictions on dining have limited our ability to continue to drive revenue or drive certain profits,” Love said. “So we’re trying to interpret a model that we felt like is going to be sustainable, regardless of how long the impacts on our environment and our communities are going to be from COVID.”

Love reassures those who love the high-quality food Surf House has to offer. The food will remain high-quality and he hopes to bring the area back to their roots, rekindling a love for calabash.

Coast is set to open on January 1.

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