After opening during height of pandemic, New Bedford restaurant now thriving

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — While almost all restaurants had to adjust during the pandemic, one located in New Bedford had to face a different challenges, because they had their opening during it.

Back in January, 12News brought you to DoCo, where owners Jason and Jillian Cotter, who opened their doors for the first time last June.

“We were already so invested into this project that when we were ready to open, we had to open, we didn’t have a choice, even though it was the pandemic, so weave just been doing the best we can, doing what we can, in order to create business and keep the business alive,” Jillian said when we last spoke with her.

Fast forward to almost one year since their opening during the height of the pandemic. Today, the live music could be heard playing from the upstairs loft while patrons filled every table downstairs.

“I think everyone’s feeling a sense of relief now that we’re allowed to do what we want to do, so it’s going really well,” Jillian said.

Prior to this weekend, customers had to order a the counter then sit down with their food. The Cotter’s say takeout is still a very popular option for their guests, but this weekend proved to be successful for dining at the restaurant as well.

“It’s great to see everybody out enjoying themselves. They’ve got smiles on their faces. They feel free again,” said Michelle Hughes of Freetown.

Some people came into the restaurant with no mask, while others wore it until they were seated. Everyone, though, was happy to be out to eat.

“Supporting the people who have been struggling. That’s what it’s all about. You’ve got to keep these people going. If not, I’ll have to cook.”

Being busy is surely welcome, but the couple says they are facing a staffing shortage like many others in the restaurant industry right now.

“My husband is working in the kitchen right now. Yup, we’re actually in between chefs, so he’s kind of our stand-in chefs before we hire a new chef. And he and two other people are doing it all. Everyone’s been very understanding and pleasant, so we appreciate that.”

In the near future, they hope to add a stage for live music events and to also offer dinner or special event nights.

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