Michael Holloway

Transfer Pizzeria Has New Outdoor Patio

Restaurant was offering carryout only, now has outdoor, picnic-table, sit-down dining.

By - Jun 20th, 2020 05:53 pm
Transfer Pizza patio. Photo courtesy of Transfer Pizzeria Cafe.

Transfer Pizza patio. Photo courtesy of Transfer Pizzeria Cafe.

Transfer Pizzeria Cafe, a popular destination for those who crave creatively-crafted pizzas, has announced it is once again open for on-site dining with the completion of its new patio.

Utilizing a roughly 30′ by 75′ vacant lot that stretches between the restaurant and a neighboring building, the Transfer team prepared the space for dinner service with picnic tables and free-standing hand sanitizer stations. The tables are designed to handle a maximum of six guests, and dining parties may not exceed that limit for the time being. If every seat is filled, the patio could accommodate up to 70 people, although Transfer co-owner Russell Rossetto predicts the patio will see no more than 50 people at a time.

“We had planned for it to be a small lot for our staff and delivery vehicle,” says Rossetto. “We never imagined we’d reopen using the lot as a large dining patio, mainly because our kitchens couldn’t handle the volume of full dining rooms, carryout, delivery and a large patio.”

Transfer acquired the vacant lot in 2016 when the owners purchased the adjacent building in order to use it as a secondary kitchen, carry-out storefront and event space named The Haven Room — a name inspired by a previous bar that occupied the building called The Haven Bar. The property also included a live music stage that the owners are currently working on transforming into a small patio, but one that wouldn’t be large enough to uphold safe social distancing for guests. Rossetto notes that while nobody could be properly prepared for the COVID-19 shutdowns, Transfer was fortunate to have already been in the process of focusing on delivery and takeout as an area of growth for the restaurant with the purchase of this second building.

“We were inching in that direction, but the shutdown forced us to move full-throttle,” says Rossetto. “Fortunately, we were already prepared for this new reality. It doesn’t make up for what business was, but it’s gotten us halfway.”

Calling upon the help of friends and family, the Transfer team hand-crafted the picnic tables and gave the lot a facelift by repurposing planters, stringing lights between the buildings and making use of umbrellas and barrels that were donated by Lakefront Brewery. PA speakers mounted on the second-story windows provide additional ambience. In the future, Rossetto hopes to incorporate live music.

“This will require a rethinking of how we ‘consume’ live music,” he says.

Transfer’s menu has been trimmed down in order to streamline kitchen operations and to simplify inventory intake and storage, but Rossetto emphasizes they are still offering the essentials.

“The things that bring most people to Transfer are available and are better than ever,” he says.

Transfer shut down its dining room and pivoted to strictly take-out and delivery on March 16. Rosetto says that he was able to keep some employees on to help with answering phones and delivering orders.

“We turned our dining room into a pizza box storage warehouse,” he says. “Box making has become a much more integral part of our operation.”

With the return of on-site dining, Transfer will be able to bring back more of its front-of-house staff and will have up to seven servers on the schedule for working the patio. Transfer is currently open Sunday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for on-site dining (weather permitting), carryout and delivery. Rossetto believes that the changes the restaurant has undergone will remain even after business returns to normal.

“We see the increased demand for curbside pickup and delivery and it will remain,” he says. “But remember, coming to us is still the best way to enjoy a Transfer pizza.”

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