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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, May 18, 2020 2 months ago

One pizza business says delivery is strong, but dine-in is 'almost not worth it'

Mezzaluna at Halifax Plantation is owned by Gina DiBettito.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Takeout and delivery have been robust for Mezzaluna Pizzeria in Halifax Plantation during the pandemic, but dine-in? Not so much, even as restrictions loosen.

“People are just not eating out,” said owner Gina DiBitetto. “Nobody coming in. Nothing like we thought it would be. It’s hard because, from a business standpoint, you have to staff it. So my payroll is up, because if we do get a rush, you want to be covered, but it’s almost not worth it.”

Before the pandemic, the restaurant would often be full for dinner, with an hour wait. “Now there’s open tables all the time,” she said.


Generous neighbors

DiBitetto has noticed that some restaurants have seen success with dine-in, especially on the water. She thinks that family-oriented neighborhoods around Halifax Plantation may be less inclined to eat out because of age.

But those same neighborhoods have been remarkable in their support of one another.

“People will call me up and say, ‘I have a neighbor who hasn’t left the house in a long time,’” DiBitetto said. “So people donate their time and deliver.”

The volunteer delivery drivers take meals to others, and neighbors split the cost of the donated food with Mezzaluna. Plantation Bay is served on Tuesdays in this way; Halifax Plantation is Wednesday; Sugar Mill, Fairchild Oaks and Eagle Lakes are Thursday; and Plantation Oaks is Friday.

“Anybody that donates, we feed them as well,” DiBitetto said.

Another waitress, who had four children, converted to delivery to keep her job.


Free for first responders

The restaurant also has supported first responders and health care workers by donating 30-50 pizzas a week. AdventHealth in Palm Coast and Daytona Beach, the 911 dispatch center in Flagler County, as well as fire and police agencies have all been given food.

In addition, DiBitetto said, “Firemen and police in the area haven’t paid for anything since this started.”

DiBitetto's Mezzaluna is at 3758 Roscommon Drive, Ormond Beach. There are two other locations, both in Palm Coast: one in European Village and another in Town Center. All are owned by the same family.

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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