Westchester entrepreneurs have faith new Cortlandt restaurant will thrive in unpredictable industry

The two longtime friends launched the soul food/Puerto-Rican restaurant K&P Lounge at an unpredictable time for the industry.

News 12 Staff

Dec 8, 2022, 11:24 AM

Updated 526 days ago


Two Northern Westchester entrepreneurs have turned an abandoned, remote Cortlandt building into a restaurant they believe will withstand the challenges that forced other similar businesses to close.
Longtime friends Katrina Harris and Pamela Tioru launched the soul food and Puerto Rican restaurant K&P Lounge at an unpredictable time for the industry.
Their grand opening on Thursday was packed.
"Just to have 300 people register to come here, that spoke volumes to us," Harris enthused.
Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association said between 5% and 8% of their 7,000-member restaurants shut down in the last year.
That's about 350 establishments.
Fleischut says the future for some restaurants in the industry is uncertain.
"My crystal ball is kind of cloudy at the moment. Is it better? Yes. Is it sustainable? Is it going to continue into 2023? Those are all questions we have as well right now," she said.
Harris and Tioru said they were encouraged by the immediate response from their community, despite the uncertainty in the industry.
"I was very worried when we first came out. I said, 'nobody's going to see us. It's dark. It's in the woods. It's too far out,' but these people walk here to sit and have a drink," Harris said.
The National Restaurant Association says 77% of customers they polled plan to eat out during the holiday season.
Another problem that has forced restaurants to close their doors is the struggle to retain workers.
That's less of a problem at K&P Lounge, however, since they don't need many employees.
Harris and Tioru do the cooking and they have a long line of relatives ready to fill in on service whenever necessary.

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