SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Nearly two years into the pandemic, locally owned restaurants are still dealing with the fallout from the shutdown and staffing shortages.

Malibu of Surfside has called Surfside Drive home for nearly eight years. The restaurant is family-owned and operated.

“My mother started all the recipes with her great aunt,” Giovanni Massari said. “They are 135-year-old recipes that we kept within our family. My brother does all the cooking and preparations. He is here in the early hours, and I am the face in the front of the house, the jokester.”

Giovanni Massari’s family decided to temporarily close the doors of their restaurant on Saturday because of a “severe staffing shortage.” 

Massari said the business is used to seating about 150 customers a night, and even has to turn away customers because it’s so busy.

“It’s definitely depressing a little bit,” he said. “It is hard to put your ambitions and passions on the backburner because of this situation going on. It is literally a recipe for disaster to have to close the doors, put sales on hold and hold onto product that you really need to get rid of.”

Because the restaurant is mostly run by members of the family, he said it’s hard when even a few employees are out sick.

“It’s already hard enough on the family what we do here,” Massari said. “We probably put in 140 hours a week combined as a family.”

The family hopes to reopen Feb. 4, but will push the date back later if needed to keep the family and employees safe.

“Being mostly family, it is hard to even risk that for a moment,” Massari said. “If anyone is even feeling remotely ill, it is better to just be safe than sorry.”