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November 4, 2020 37 min

Francis Cretarola and Cathy Lee opened their restaurant Le Virtu on Philadelphia's Passyunk Avenue right before the economy collapsed in 2008. This restaurant, one that serves Abruzzese Italian food is Francis and Cathy's passion. They survived 2008 and together they have created community and family for their staff and their patrons. But then the pandemic happened. And Cathy and Francis have had to hunker down and make some incredibly difficult decisions, decisions Francis says are way above his pay grade, to try to keep their staff and their patrons safe while keeping their restaurant afloat. Running a restaurant is like walking a tightrope. Margins are thin and the stress is high, but Cathy and Francis have powered through the pandemic with grace, compassion and humor. I love this story because it's here in my hometown of Philly and it shows just how hard we're all working together to get through this tough year.

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