Revving Up Amid Recession

According to a report on journalgazette.net, “Mike Harris doesn’t put much faith in conventional wisdom. His restaurant, Toscani Pizzeria, has flourished despite the recession. And Harris said his downtown location, which many warned against, has been a great success.”

“’I had so many people telling me that I wasn’t going to make it downtown – that it was a pretty stupid decision,’ Harris said. ‘But it’s been shocking every year. We have made profit every year we’ve been here.’”

“Harris and his wife, Julie, opened Toscani’s Jan. 16, 2006 – about two years before the recession began in December 2007. According to industry statistics, Harris is lucky his business is still going strong. Inflation-adjusted restaurant industry sales in 2009 are likely to decline 1 percent from 2008, according to the National Restaurant Association. Harris attributes his ability to dodge the effects of the economic downturn to planning, motivation, great employees and a little luck. Toscani’s on Wayne Street is open for lunch and dinner, offering pastas, sandwiches, sausage rolls, pizzas, salads and desserts. Some of the recipes are from Harris’ grandmother, born in Tuscany, a region in Italy. Harris, 52, started Toscani’s after a 30-year career in the construction business. He says he spent his life dreaming about starting an Italian restaurant. His relatives owned pizzerias when he was a child in the 1960s, and he was always surrounded by cooking,” the story said.