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Greek-Cypriot-Colombian Co-Owner of Bogota Latin Bistro Featured in Forbes

April 10, 2020

NEW YORK – With the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in effect, restaurants have had to adapt to takeout and delivery service only, with many noting that they also offer liquor on the menu which is helping in these difficult times. Greek-Cypriot-Colombian co-owner of Bogota Latin Bistro George Constantinou Fernandez told Forbes that “what’s helped the most is the ability to sell liquor. It’s usually two to four drinks per order.”

That accounts for around “one-third of his business these days, which took an 80% hit the week of the citywide dine-in ban on March 16,” Forbes reported adding that “Bogota’s revenue has since bounced up some 20%, in part due to the New York State Liquor Authority allowing to-go alcohol sales for restaurants with an appropriate license.”

Fernandez told Forbes, “We had two weeks to change our business model overnight and revamp.”

A recent New York Times Op-Ed written by six New York City celebrity chefs, including Tom Colicchio noted that “our economic model requires people in seats,” Forbes reported, adding that “there’s real pressure on Bogota to replace its fiesta vibe with a takeout menu.”

Fernandez and his Palestinian-Colombian partner Farid Ali Lancheros opened Bogota in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn in honor of their Colombian mothers, Forbes reported. The menu is “a greatest hits of Latin cooking,” Fernandez told Forbes.

Fernandez and Lancheros have two more restaurants in Park Slope and another in South Orange, NJ, and have been giving back to the Brooklyn community, too, providing “reduced-cost catering to a Brooklyn Navy Yard company making protective masks and the Brooklyn Hospital Center,” Forbes reported.

Of helping his own employees Fernandez told Forbes, “They either want the work to support their families or are scared to come in,” adding that “with the small uptick in business, he’s rehired two to three people.”

“My job now is chief loan officer. I’m applying for as much as I can get or what comes my way. My bank account is dwindling. Right now, we will survive. If you’re limited to what restaurants you can choose, you are going to go with your favorite,” Fernandez told Forbes.

Bogota Latin Bistro is located at 141 Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn.

More information is available by phone: 718-230-3805 and online: bogotabistro.com.

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