Rosie’s Trattoria, the popular Randolph family restaurant, received a $15,000 Morris County Small Business Grant Program check today, as two of Morris County’s County Commissioners delivered special.
The restaurant’s struggle to stay in business during and after the pandemic epitomizes what the entire restaurant industry in New Jersey endured, with many not surviving. Closures, a slow return of patrons and rising costs after 2020 have challenged restaurants to be creative, flexible and work long hours.
“Our customers, they kept coming and we couldn’t do it without them. This is a family restaurant, we have always been a family restaurant and we are very grateful,” said Rosie Inchiappa, who owns and operates the business with her husband, Giuseppe.
“This city has been very supportive, everyone has been supportive,” said Giuseppe.
The pandemic hit when Rosie’s, located on Sussex Turnpike in Randolph, was remodeling and expanding. The restaurant quickly adapted with a take-out business and, when the lock-down orders were finally revoked, an extended outdoor seating area. The cost of doing business continues to rise, and the restaurant qualified for the entire $15,000 allowed under the Morris County Small Business Grant Program.
Commissioner Deputy Director John Krickus and Commissioner Deborah Smith delivered the check and a letter from the board to Rosie, her husband and her siblings, Rene.
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Nearly 550 grants have been approved to date under the Morris County Small Grants Program, which was the brainchild of the Morris County Commissioners, as they developed a unique use of funds issued to the county through the American Rescue Plan Act. Federal guidelines only allow Morris County to apply the dollars to pandemic-related expenses incurred during and after March 2021.
The board set aside $10 million in funds for the program, and less than $1.8 million remains available.
Federal guidelines covering the grant program will determine exactly what costs to cover and what applications can be approved. Grants are limited to $15,000 per applicant. However, business owners and non-profits are encouraged to submit applications that include all expenses they believe may qualify for the grant, even if the total amount of a single claim exceeds $15,000.
A final review may determine that some costs submitted for consideration are not covered under program guidelines. However, by submitting all eligible expenses, applicants increase the possibility of obtaining the maximum amount of grant dollars possible.
Above Right: Deputy Director John Krickus, far right, and Commissioner Deborah Smith hold the check and letter presented to Rosie, Giuseppe and brother-in-law, Rene on the lawn of Rosie’s Trattoria.
Center Left: The Commissioners look at the outside dining area of the restaurant with Rosie and Giuseppe.
Bottom right: Rosie took Commissioners on a tour of the family-run restaurant, which opened in 2005.