'It’s difficult': Giovanni's Pizzeria closing Orlando location

Giovanni's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria chain is closing one of its locations due to the effects of the pandemic.

The Giovanni's restaurant on Chickasaw Trail in Orlando has shut its doors. The local restaurant chain's other four locations will remain open. 

Giovanni's has been in Central Florida for the last 28 years.

"It’s difficult to deal with emotionally, but we’re making it through doing the best we can," said managing partner Roberto Nikollaj.

Nikollaj's family owns the chains. He says closing the Orlando location was a difficult decision. He says rent at the location went up 50% on top of increased costs of labor and costs of products that have skyrocketed because of supply chain issues.

"We can’t get some products, and the ones we do get, we’re shorted on, or they’re grossly overpriced," Nikollaj said. "The hospitality industry is getting kicked in the mouth, and it’s unfortunate."

Nikollaj said their other locations have leases coming up, too, and they're worried about more rent hikes, but as of now, he and his family are taking it one day at a time.

"We've grown our family here and have become family with so many people, and it’s just difficult now. Support small businesses, support family businesses," he said. "That’s kind of the heart and soul of Orlando. Small restaurants, small businesses, you don’t get the ‘cheers’ feeling out of larger chains."

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