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Grammas Pizza in Batavia gives back during uncertain times

Posted at 7:00 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 16:56:06-04

BATAVIA, Ohio — Many small restaurants in Greater Cincinnati are depending on carryout orders and the generosity of others to keep their doors open.

"It's dropped considerably, probably 25 to 30% with no dining room," said Lisa Furkas, owner of Grammas Pizza in Batavia, of her business.

She added the amount of carryout and delivery orders her pizzeria has received on a daily basis since Ohio's dine-in-order ban went into effect has varied wildly, too.

"It's day by day, basically," Furkas said. "I mean, you just got to take one day at a time."

And though the dine-in ban designed to slow the spread of coronavirus has forced Grammas Pizza to lay off workers, the pizzeria owner and her remaining employees still are finding a way to give back to the community Grammas has been in for 26 years.

"Right now, I'm offering for the kids from kindergarten through eighth grade, I've been offering a small hoagie, a steak hoagie with fries, to help the kids who don't have the lunches available to them at school," Furkas said.

All parents need to do is call the Grammas Pizza location on Main Street in Batavia and tell whoever answers the phone their child's grade and Batavia school district teacher to get the free meal.

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Furkas said she also is donating food to Clermont County medical workers and others whenever she sees the need.

Her drive to give to others, even as her business suffers, is deeply personal, she said.

"Six years ago my husband died of brain cancer and we were just set in this community from 1993," Furkas said. "And then when he passed away, most of my customers that came in here were the ones that got me through that hard time."

Furkas said that the customer support she received after Konstandinos Furkas died in October 2014 helped her keep their pizzeria open. It was Konstandinos Furkas' relatives, the Grammas family, who opened the first Grammas Pizza in Clermont County in 1976.

"People that I know, you know what I mean. Like I have a relationship with," she said. "And they've always been helpful and supportive to my family. And that's why I basically want to give back."

Furkas said she has no doubts that those same strong community bonds will continue to keep her spirits up and Grammas Pizza open throughout the current coronavirus pandemic.

"You own a business. It's the top of everything. It's what you do, what you love because you have to love it, right?" she said. "And that's just special."

For more information about the Grammas Pizza located at 154 E. Main St. in Batavia, visit the pizzeria's page on Facebook.