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'Two Steps Forward, One Kick In The Head': Carmine's, Virgil BBQ Owner Jeffrey Bank On Keeping A Restaurant Alive

Bisnow's podcast, Make Yourself At Home, hears from members of the commercial real estate industry about how they are managing this new reality and gaining insight into their day-to-day approaches. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music.

Alicart CEO Jeffrey Bank

On this episode, Alicart CEO Jeffrey Bank, who owns restaurants including Carmine’s and Virgil’s Real Barbecue, talks about the hospitality industry’s fight for survival. An incredibly tough year for city restaurants has become even tougher in recent weeks. Indoor dining was shut down in New York City on Monday — just in time for a snowstorm on Wednesday. Now, there’s talk of a potential return to the city's strict lockdown measures of the spring.

Meanwhile in places like Washington, D.C., where the Carmine's that Bank owns is temporarily closed, a normally busy presidential inauguration season is expected to be quiet as D.C. prepares for its own indoor dining suspension as the coronavirus continues to infect Americans in record levels.   

Bank speaks on the podcast about what he considers a failure of government to help the ailing industry in the U.S., why he thinks restaurant workers should get the vaccine with priority and when he expects business will begin recovering.

“All you can do is react, there’s no more planning … Times Square is a war zone, it needs its own Marshall Plan in and of itself,” he said. “This whole 10 months feels like two steps forward, one kick in the head.”