BON SECOUR, Ala. (WKRG) – A restaurant in Mobile announced this week it’s closing permanently due to staffing shortages the owners continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cortlandt’s Pizza Pub isn’t the only local small business dealing with problems as positive cases of the virus continue to rise.

“We don’t seem to be bothered as much front of the house staff, servers, we’re in good shape with management. It’s mostly kitchen help, qualified cooks. Very tough,” said Bob Hallmark, owner of The Tin Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Bon Secour.

Since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began his restaurant has taken a hit. Some months are good, while other months he’s desperate for help. This month his restaurant of 18 years is closed on Tuesdays, but he’s hopeful that’s a temporary adjustment while he gets creative with his search. 

“We may actually go over towards New Orleans in Louisiana to recruit over there,” he tells us. 

Hallmark says locally he’s not having any luck finding employees. Some of his front of house staff are taking on extra duties in the kitchen just to keep things going. He’s hoping that might make the temporary Tuesday closures a thing of the past. 

“Everybody that walks in the door here makes a minimum of $15 an hour. There seems to be a lack of a work ethic, or maybe not a need to work or don’t want to work. I’m not sure,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Hallmark is planning a major expansion on the river later this year.

“We are getting ready to start construction on a new restaurant, a bigger restaurant. We have outgrown this one. Actually, it’s busting at the seams,” Hallmark added.

It may be a big task, but he’s optimistic he can find good help in other areas and attract them to Baldwin County.