A popular family-run Italian restaurant in Sydney’s south has been forced to close its doors after fighting an uphill battle against soaring inflation and cost-of-living expenses.
Rocky Pitarelli, owner of Caruso’s Gourmet Pizza and Italian Restaurant in Gymea, made the “heartbreaking” decision to shut up shop after owning the local institution for the past five years.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Popular family-run Sydney restaurant shuts its doors after 22 years.
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Pitarelli, who worked under the previous owners as the head chef for about 12 years, said his family loved their jobs but it was no longer financially sustainable for them to stay open.
“Passion and hard work can only get you so far in life but we have not been able to maintain our pot of gold which makes running this high expense venue very difficult without a war chest,” Pitarelli shared earlier this month.
“Kerrin and I have always been a humble, hard-working husband and wife team, I’m proud how creative and innovative we have been in the past five years.
“We are so sad but know it’s just how it is, we know it’s time to say goodbye and thank you.”
The Caruso’s team traded for the final time on March 12 as mounting costs grew too much to keep the business afloat.
“We’re a small business with great reviews, we’ve been here for 22 years as a business and it’s just tough,” Pitarelli told Sunrise.
“It’s just heartbreaking, we’re loved in our community.”
Pitarelli said despite the business having rave reviews and having a loyal customer base, skyrocketing costs month after month had a crushing impact.
“We haven’t had the opportunity to achieve what we’ve wanted to achieve,” he said.
“When you lose one month’s rent in a heartbeat, you don’t know where your next customer is coming from, the fundamentals of business are not just there.
“You can’t forecast, you don’t know where your next dollar is coming from.
“You need to take the emotion out of it and look at your circumstances. Unfortunately, we’re a victim of circumstance.”
Pitarelli called on the government and the community to support other small businesses that are all doing it tough in the current climate.
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