Adversity of lockdown setback will not deter Haverhill restaurant owners' positivity
A family who had to close their first ever restaurant just two weeks after it opened because of the coronavirus lockdown ‘cannot wait’ to get things up and running again.
On March 8, the first customers were welcomed to Baltic Amber Bar and Restaurant, next to the Travelodge hotel in Haverhill by owners Tomas Mazelis and Viktorija Voisiat, only for fate to intervene.
The restaurant’s name is a nod to the fact that its owners, who although residents of Haverhill for nine years, actually hail from the Baltic state of Lithuania.
Inspired by Viktorija’s love of cooking and wanting to have their own business, the family spent three years searching for a suitable premises and once they found it, they even flew in an interior designer from Lithuania to give it an authentic Baltic feel.
Tomas and Viktorija’s daughter Klaudija Mazelyte helps run the business.
She said: “We just wanted to present the town with something new and interesting and not something that’s been tried before.”
Understanding that not everyone wants to step into the culinary unknown, said Klaudija, the menu offers traditional Lithuanian dishes alongside more traditional crowd-pleasers such as pasta, burgers and steaks, all prepared by a Lithuanian head chef and a sous chef from Latvia.
Five days after going into lockdown the restaurant began offering a takeaway and delivery service on a limited number of days, although two weeks ago that was upped to every day of the week.
Now, they are looking forward to the day when they can fully reopen and, with social distancing requirements in mind have almost finished a garden area to enable outdoor dining.
Klaudija said: “We do have a big fear that this will affect us in a big way financially but we are trying our hardest to just keep going and put in a little bit of money here and there to keep us going.
“Every day we go to the restaurant we are thinking when can we open, we just want to be up and running.
"We want to open.
“We are trying to do everything (as a family) ourselves if we can. We just want people to know us. We want to provide a good service for people.”