After almost a year of limiting service hours to Wednesday nights, The Cellar will reopen seven days a week starting Aug. 26.
Staffing shortages because of the COVID-19 pandemic forced The Cellar to change its hours in September 2021, according to an announcement from Dining Services.
The popular bar and restaurant will now be open from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and 5 p.m. to midnight Friday through Saturday, according to the Dining Services website.
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen and more students return to campus, Michael Scampoli, The Cellar’s manager, is optimistic that staffing shortages will no longer be an issue for the restaurant.
“Now we have a lot more interest from all the returning students allowing us to come back seven days a week, and we’re all excited to get back on track,” Scampoli said.
Senior Sam Schott, who has worked at The Cellar since his first year at the University of Richmond, said he missed not working at the restaurant and was looking forward to the return of normal hours and shifts. The Cellar’s large staff also made it difficult to work, as many employees were competing for a limited number of hours, Schott said.
“So just moving back now, I've been able to pick up more shifts, and it fits in my schedule a lot better,” Schott said.
As The Cellar returns to a regular schedule, it will continue to handle orders via Grubhub through the fall semester, though it is unclear if the restaurant will hire servers, Scampoli said.
“I think Grubhub is here to stay,” Scampoli said. “Right now, with Grubhub, it’s difficult to differentiate between who is eating in and who is getting take-out. So, if there ever is a way we can fix that, then, hopefully, we can bring back servers.”
While Scampoli is confident the restaurant will stay open seven days a week, he acknowledged there are policies to reduce service to five days a week if staffing becomes an issue again.
Though some students were unaware of The Cellar’s updated hours, they were excited to have the restaurant back.
“I didn’t know that it was opening for more days, but I’m excited to have it back, especially after COVID,” senior Mildren Santana said.
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Senior Caitlin Doyle said she was looking forward to attending “Cellar Wednesday,” which is a senior tradition, with her friends and getting late-night skillet cookies.
The Cellar this fall will also include a revamped menu featuring beer from local breweries, a new wing recipe and cheese curds, Scampoli said. There will also be weekly specials and pizzas, along with a wider variety of seasonal vegetables.
"We're definitely focusing on a fresher, better taste, and getting student feedback is very important to us,” Scampoli said.
As a regular customer at The Cellar, Schott said he is looking forward to having it back as a consistent on-campus dining option.
“I think it was a huge bummer during COVID and everything because I feel like during the week, especially, it's a really good place to go for food and dinner because it’s more of a restaurant,” Schott said.
Contact news writer Katie Castellani at email@example.com.
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