By Carla M. Dubis Tedeschi

The full impact of COVID-19 on small businesses is likely to be substantial. Many local businesses shut down temporarily, while some shut down for good.

Business owners and entrepreneurs alike were forced to take drastic steps to continue operating, while the majority of their customers were locked up at home following “safer-at-home” orders.

Luckily for everyone at Central Park Family Restaurant, they “have the best customers in the world.”  

Along with managers; Mario Cientos and Nick Harzileris, proud owners Otto, Anita, and Matthew Ferro would like to personally thank the Tampa Bay community for keeping their long-standing “New York Style Diner” afloat during these unprecedented times.

“Our personal heroes were our hard-working employees and our incredibly supportive customers,” says Otto. At the same time, he passionately described some of the events that transpired within the past couple of months. “Our regulars kept us alive, no doubt about it. We were blessed to have had a lot of people coming in to pick up food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. A lot of them would tip our staff very generously on a jar located at the front counter, which made a huge difference for our employees. I couldn’t be more grateful to the entire Tampa Bay community for their undeniable support during these hard and unprecedented times. You kept us open; thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Enjoy Your Favorites While Social Distancing!

Conveniently located on S.R. 54 between Old C.R. 54 and Rowan Rd., Central Park Family Restaurant allows you to enjoy an authentic “New York Diner” experience with down-home pricing and comfort, while surrounded by happy chatter and laughter from a satisfied crowd of loyal, local customers. They have been coming in for over a decade. 

Even though specific health guidelines and social distancing regulations are still in place, Central Park Family Restaurant owners and staff have taken all the necessary steps to ensure you and your loved ones enjoy a delicious, affordable, worry-free meal in a clean and safe environment, which they provided even before this pandemic.

Every customer at Central Park is still greeted with a smile and treated with the utmost respect by the staff and the various members of the Ferro family. They work and run the day-to-day operations at this cozy family restaurant. You will often see Otto, Anita, and Matt greeting and seating customers, checking on tables, and making sure everyone is enjoying their meals. 

“I love Central Park,” says frequent customer, Luci Vega. “As soon as you walk in, they make you feel at home. Everyone treats you like family…from the owners who constantly check on you, to the amazing staff. But the best part…. the food! It doesn’t matter if I am craving Greek, Italian, or a traditional American breakfast on a busy weekday. They can satisfy any of your cravings with the most delicious, home-cooked meals. Even the fish is amazing. Seriously! You cannot go wrong at Central Park.”

A Family Restaurant For You and Your Family

“This is my family’s favorite restaurant,” says Jennifer M. “We have NEVER had a bad meal here. Great service, great food, great prices. I am happy they are allowing delivery now so I can continue to show my support.”

The Ferro Family has a lot of experience in the restaurant industry. Anita Ferro worked in the restaurant business all her life, while her husband Otto recently retired from Walgreens, but always dreamed of owning a restaurant. When the opportunity to purchase Central Park Family Restaurant became available, they jumped at it. Bringing along their son and two good friends that they could trust to help manage the place, Mario and Nick became assets to the vision placed in motion.

“Mario and I have been best friends for 40 years,” says Otto. “We worked together at Sambo’s in St. Petersburgh in 1980. So when my wife and I decided to buy this place, we knew exactly who we wanted on board working next to us. But in all honesty, it is the staff that makes all of this possible. Anita and I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing employees, and we couldn’t be more thankful for all of their hard work. They are what makes this whole thing happen.”

“What a fantastic place to visit on Mother’s Day,” says recent customer Mary S. “Everything was fresh, hot, and delicious. Great job! I highly recommend the corned beef hash, and it was excellent!”

Variety is the spice of life! 

Diversity makes life interesting, and it caters to a broad consumer base. Simply put, there’s something for everyone at Central Park Family Restaurant! 

Altogether, their menu offers ten full pages of delicious options to choose from, including all-day breakfast items, mouthwatering entrees, specialty salads, skyscraper club sandwiches, half-pound Black Angus beef burgers, hot open-faced sandwiches, and so much more! One of the hardest parts of your day may just be deciding which of their fantastic menu items to try. 

Northern favorites include “scrapple” (a traditional mush of pork combined with cornmeal and wheat flour with spices) and grilled sandwiches such as the Central Park Deluxe, made with fresh layers of pastrami and corned beef piled high on grilled, authentic N.Y. Jewish rye, Swiss cheese, spicy mustard, and grilled onions. 

Down-home southern favorites include delicious fried chicken and fried green tomatoes, which is a Mediterranean and Southern fusion. 

Greek Dinner specialties include a traditional Gyro platter, chicken souvlaki, spanakopita, and the Pork Chops Athena, amongst others. If you love mouthwatering gourmet burgers, then you must try “The Skyscraper,” weighing in at over two pounds, it is made with three half-pound Black Angus patties cooked to juicy perfection and topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion – WOW!

If breakfast food is your favorite, you’ve come to the perfect place! Get ready to enjoy fluffy, delectable pancakes, savory french toast, yummy waffles, toasty breakfast sandwiches, and jam-packed omelets at any time of the day. 

There are actually over 60 types of omelets featured on the menu! Highlighting a section called “Omelets from Around the World,” that include options such as the “Royal Hawaiian Omelet” made with pineapple, ham and cream cheese, and the “New Yorker Omelet” prepared with corned beef, pastrami, onions, and swiss cheese. With so many dishes to choose from, you are going to have to come as often as Butch does, to make sure you don’t miss out on any of their delicious creations. 

Make sure you leave room for dessert! Central Park’s pies are from J. J. Gandy, including the key lime pie that made J. J. Gandy’s locally famous. You also must make it a point to try their cheesecakes! 

Central Park Family Restaurant is located at 7657 SR 54 in New Port Richey in the plaza near Dunkin Donuts and Wendy’s.  They are open daily from 6:30 a.m. with last seating at 8 p.m.  For information about Central Park Family Restaurant, including catering, call (727) 376-7402; log on to  www.centralparkfamilyrestaurant.com, or like them on Facebook.