A Dream Dies in Maryland

Tomorrow, 60 years and the dream of 4 generations ends when the Sunset Restaurant in Glen Burnie, Maryland closes. 

Listen to 57-year-old manager Mike Fratantuono (as told to the incomparable Eli Saslow in the Washington Post):   

  • “I grew up inside this restaurant… . I’ve been the plumber, the busboy, the handyman, the butcher, the bartender, the prep cook, the manager. I’ve done every job there is in this restaurant, and now I’m the one who has to shut us down.
  • “It’s home. These walls are like a family photo album… . sometimes the stress hits me and my heart starts going like crazy. 
  • “We allowed the virus to take over our economy, our small businesses, our schools, our social lives, our whole quality of life. We surrendered, and now everything’s infected.”

Ed. Note: Too often, we obsess about the numbers. We watch hotspots emerge and recede, death rates surge and retreat. We document every discovery, every effect on human health. 

But as Mike Fratantuono and his family know, the pandemic is more than that. The Sunset Restaurant may be a small business to some, but it was a livelihood for 85 employees—and home to the Fratantuonos. They did everything they could to save the business, and it wasn’t enough.

This, too, the coronavirus has taken.—Brian

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