Pan Olio, a German-American restaurant in southwest Cape Coral, just reopened under new management.
When owner Frankie Bernert let go his husband-and-wife team of managers two weeks ago, an exodus of employees chose to leave along with them. Bernert closed the restaurant for a few days to regroup.
Gina Kelly, a longtime friend of Bernert from suburban Columbus, Ohio, has filled the void and has rebuilt the restaurant’s staff. She has hired eight new servers, and the chef has hired three new line cooks. She’s not finished hiring, either, and she’s encouraging people to apply.
Bernert had a local suitor hoping to buy the restaurant, but Bernert declined the offer. He opted to reboot it with new management instead.
“We built this thing from scratch,” Bernert said of spot at 1715 Cape Coral Parkway West. It’s at the western end of a strip mall that’s on the western end of Cape Coral Parkway. It opened Oct. 18, 2019. Then it had to weather the onset of the COVID-19 with only a small local following to support it.
“It’s been a difficult run for a small business owner,” Bernert said. “But the Germans are resilient.”
Pan Olio has burgers and sandwiches that range $12.95 to $16.95. Main dishes include salmon ($20.95), grouper and Mahi Mahi ($24.95), a 12-ounce ribeye or New York strip ($25.95) and the “Vienna style” schnitzel ($16.95).
“We moved here because we knew Frank was doing the restaurant,” Kelly said. “He asked me if I could run this and make a lot of changes. We are looking for some experienced and knowledgeable and reliable employees with hospitality. We have a little bit of everything. We’re adding a few more steaks for the menu. We have quite a variety of seafood.”
Kelly said the challenge has been finding workers.
“The season is coming,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll pick up a lot of business.”
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